The Alternative Dossier 7: With Friends Like These

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Issue: 
(267)

Bush's cabinet and their corporate links.

Ann Veneman, Agriculture Secretary
Veneman served on the board of directors for Calgene Inc, which was the first company to bring genetically engineered food, the Flavr Savr tomato, to supermarket shelves.

John Ashcroft, Attorney General
Ashcroft was one of only a handful of senators sponsoring a bill that extended the patent on Schering-Plough's ultra-profitable allergy pill Claritin. The patent is worth billions of dollars in potential revenue.

Don Evans, Commerce Secretary
Evans oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has direct control over the country's coastline. The oceans are the source of one quarter of the country's domestic oil and natural gas.

Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Secretary
As a director for Gulfstream Aerospace, Rumsfeld's stock in the company was reportedly valued at $11 million when the company was acquired by defence contractor General Dynamics in 1999.

Spencer Abraham, Energy Secretary
Abraham was the biggest recipient of campaign contributions from the automotive industry, receiving more than $700,000 for his failed 2000 Senate run from contributors like General Motors, Ford and Lear Corp.

Tommy Thompson, Health and Human Services Secretary
Thompson sold the stock he owned in tobacco giant Philip Morris, but as governor he accepted more than $72,000 in campaign donations from the company from 1993-2000.

Gale Norton, Interior Secretary
Norton is in charge of national parks and public lands. She was chairwoman of the Coalition of Republican Environmental Advocates, a group funded by Ford and BP Amoco.

Elaine Chao, Labour Secretary
Chao sat on five corporate boards, including Dole Food, Clorox and healthcare companies CR Bard and HCA. Chao was also an executive at Bank of America.

Colin Powell, Secretary of State
When AOL merged with Time Warner, Powell's company increased in value by $4 million. His son, Michael, was the only commissioner at the government's FCC to advocate allowing the deal without scrutiny.

Norman Mineta, Transportation Secretary
The only Democrat in Bush's cabinet. While in office, Mineta served as the chairman of the House Transportation Committee. His campaign contributors included Northwest Airlines, United Airlines and Boeing.

Paul O'Neill, Treasury Secretary
O'Neill was chairman of Alcoa, the world's largest aluminium manufacturer. Vinson & Elkins lobbies the government on Alcoa's behalf. Vinson & Elkins was Bush's third largest campaign contributor.

Anthony Principi, Veterans Affairs Secretary
Principi was the chairman of Federal Network, a telecoms company. He has also been on the board of defence company Lockheed Martin's Integrated Solutions division, and president of QTC Medical.

Andrew Card, White House Chief of Staff
A few days before the inauguration ceremony, General Motors threw an elaborate farewell party on the roof of the Kennedy Centre for Card, their former chief lobbyist.

Mitch Daniels, Director of the Office of Management and Budget
A former senior vice-president for pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, Daniels will help President Bush decide whether to include price controls in a plan to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser
What do you have to do to get a 130,000-ton oil tanker named after you? Ask Condoleezza Rice, who was given that dubious honour by Chevron's board of directors.

Source: The Centre for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org)


This article is part of the alternative dossier:

Intro - War, weapons and Iraq

1 - Arms and the Man

2 - Countdown to War

3 - An Inspector Calls

4 - Interview with Rolf Ekeus

5 - Chemical Reaction

6 - Sanctioning Murder

7 - With Friends Like These

A number of people helped in compiling this dossier. Thanks to Andrew Stone, David Shonfield, Lindsey German, Glen Rangwala and the Labour Against the War briefing paper, Sandy Nicoll, Colin Wilson and Martin Empson.