The Bush Foundation’s “How Dare You” Defense of SendHub Emails

I missed revelations involving the emails that Bush Foundation CEO, Patricia Levesque’s made on behalf of SendHub, a tech firm that former governor Jeb Bush invested in during 2012. My initial focus was on Florida’s emails and missed In the Public Interests summation on the matter. I will be recognizing that a correction is necessary in this post. USF professor Sherman Dorn provides details:

The question of a personal conflict of interest is both more serious and simpler to resolve. In the Public Interest is strongly suggesting that Jeb Bush personally benefitted by FEE’s pushing the use of SendHub, a tech firm in which Bush became a visible investor in late 2012. One of SendHub’s founders is a former Bush aide, but note that “late 2012” date (October, I think)? At least one of the emails from Patricia Levesque mentioning SendHub is from February 2012. I could not find the other emails mentioning SendHub on the website with the documents, but if the pushing of SendHub is from the first half of 2012 or earlier, it looks like casual back-scratching of people in the same circle. The only catch: Garrett Johnson (from SendHub) sits on the board of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, which also employes Levesque. That relationship could present a conflict of interest, depending on when Johnson began on the board (again, journalists need to talk with an expert in non-profit management). But unless there is an email pushing SendHub after Bush became an investor, it’s not an obvious conflict of interest for Bush personally


I doubt that Dorn or anybody else has gone through all the emails, and one could emerge. But I’ve never believed that Bush was in any way profiting from his efforts and that his investment in SendHub was likely out of loyalty to a former aid. I also don’t doubt that Bush feels he’s doing the right thing. His motivations and methods are what’s troubling.

Bush has visceral hatred for Florida’s teacher union and it frequently comes through in public statements. It even comes out during pronouncements from his foundations. In the Public Interest’s report was dismissed this week as coming from a “union-backed organization.” And this from spokeswoman Jaryn Emhof on the SendHub revelations:

“The notion that Gov. Jeb Bush, who has spent the past 20 years as a passionate advocate for education reform, is profiting from this involvement is beyond ridiculous. He has devoted thousands of hours to this cause without compensation.

If Dorn is correct and Levesque’s advocacy for SendHub ended before Bush became an investor, why not just say so? A statement which discredits the messenger (it was your emails they published) and only conveys outrage does nothing to end speculation.  Such sanctimony shows just how arrogant Bush and his foundations have become. They’ve come to assume they have moral authority on education policy and aren’t to be questioned.




About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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4 Responses to The Bush Foundation’s “How Dare You” Defense of SendHub Emails

  1. Tom James says:

    “you’ve never believed Bush has profited himself from his education policy activities”??????
    Jebby has made millions but all the money is “laundered” through his foundation. He’s really no different than a NY mobster who uses pizza parlors to legitimize illegally gained profits. The IRS needs to do a thorough audit of Jebby’s faux foundation. Why do you think Jeb is hiding his donors now?

    • I concur fully. His “foundation” has been funded by privatization interests (e.g., charter schools and online ed companies) and by the testing industry. He in turn lobbies for policies, using his political muscle, that will benefit them directly. While I don’t know all the details, I know that he, his family and his cronies are heavily vested in many of the corporate entities benefiting from the policies he pushes. If I felt his motives and interest in education were pure, I might be able to at least respect him even while disagreeing. But I do not see it that way at all. Like so many other “disaster capitalists,” he pushes the idea of a crisis in education (as opposed to a crisis in society where we have a permanent underclass consisting of 20-25% of our population living in poverty) in order to push his “solutions,” all of which involve for-profit corporate entities taking in millions or even billions of PUBLIC dollars. This is disaster capitalism in the flesh. If you doubt me, read Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine,” especially the first chapter about public ed in New Orleans after Katrina, and tell me if you the pieces don’t instantly fall into place. Bush’s motives are NOT pure unless you find corporate greed to be a pure motive.

  2. The Bushs never engage in ANY activity from which they cannot profit. This tradition harks back to granddaddy “O. G.” Prescott Bush. He had no qualms about taking Nazi cash ( Brother Neil Bush, who makes George look like a Rhode Scholar, was the first family beneficiary of redirected Florida education tax dollars with his Ignite! line of “educational” products. The thought of an altruistic thought or action from a Bush is an absurd notion.

  3. Another Bob says:

    Forget SendHub. It’s misdirection to keep you from talking about the Foundation’s pimping of contributor’s products and services.

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