The Bushes
Kitty Kelley Refutes Sharon Bush

Kitty Kelley wrote to Sharon Bush to set the record straight after Mrs. Bush gave an untruthful account on the Today show Monday, September 13, 2004 of her meeting with Kitty and their subsequent phone calls in April 2003.  At issue was Sharon Bush's confirmation that George W. Bush, her former brother-in-law, was "doing cocaine" at Camp David while his father was president. After telling Kitty that this had occurred "not once, but many times," Mrs. Bush denied her statement.  Kitty Kelley sent a copy of her letter to Matt Lauer at the Today show.

Kitty Kelley's letter to Sharon Bush, October 28, 2004

Kitty Kelley Responds to Jonathan Bush

Kitty Kelley refuted Jonathan Bush's attack on The Family in her letter to the Editor of the New York Times Book Review published November 28, 2004.   Mr. Bush had written objecting to Ted Widmer's review of The Family.  Jonathan Bush is the brother of former President George Herbert Walker Bush.

Kitty Kelley's response to Jonathan Bush The New York Times, November, 28, 2004

George W. Bush’s Great-great-grandfather for Lynch Law and Whipping Post

D. D. Walker, co-founder of Ely & Walker Dry Goods Company in St. Louis, expressed his opinion on the issues of his day in a letter from Kennebunkport ME published by the St. Louis Republic on July 22, 1914.  Walker believed that wife-beaters should be whipped, men who assaulted women should be lynched, and severely handicapped and deformed infants should be euthanized.  He believed people should have medical tests for venereal disease before marriage.  Walker supported segregation of the races, but also supported women’s suffrage and the constitutional amendment ratified in 1913 instituting an income tax.

Four years after D. D. Walker wrote this letter, his sons George H. Walker and D. D. Walker Jr. went to court to have their father declared incompetent, complaining that in four years Walker senior had given away $300,000 (the equivalent of $3.6 million in 2004).  The case was pending when D. D. Walker, who had been born on January 19, 1840, died in Kennebunkport on October 4, 1918.  He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

[See Chapter 2, pp. 24-26]

"I'm for Lynch Law and Whipping Post; D.D. Walker Writes" The St. Louis Republic, July 22, 1914

Prescott Bush and the Nazis: Union Banking Corporation

Prescott Bush, later U.S. Senator and George W. Bush’s grandfather, was a director of Union Banking Corporation, which in October 1942 was seized by the Office of Alien Property acting “under the authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act, as amended, and by Executive Order 9095, as amended.”  This has been the basis of charges on the internet and elsewhere that Prescott Bush had been engaged in illegal, perhaps even treasonous, relations with the Nazis.  These charges are based on a misunderstanding of a sequence of events.  Prescott Bush’s relationship with Union Banking was legally beyond reproach, though its duration into the late 1930s raises ethical questions.

The Wall Street firm Brown Brothers Harriman, of which Prescott Bush was a partner, was linked to the rise of the Nazi regime through Fritz Thyssen, a German industrialist known to be a supporter of Hitler before Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January 1933.  United Banking Corporation was founded in 1924 to manage Thyssen’s U. S. investments.  Several Brown Brothers Harriman partners, including Prescott Bush, served as directors of Union Banking. In March 1933 Hitler became dictator of Germany; in July of that year, he appointed Fritz Thyssen economic “czar” of the industrial Rheinland-Westphalia region.  Thyssen finally broke with Hitler in December 1939, after Hitler had begun World War II in Europe.

Although Hitler’s promulgation of the Nuremburg Laws in 1935 and subsequent anti-Jewish measures taken by the German government did not cause Prescott Bush and his fellow Brown Brothers Harriman partners to disengage from Union Banking, the directors found themselves in an embarrassing position with the outbreak of a war in which the U. S. might become involved.  Union Banking had been established as a subsidiary of a Dutch bank controlled by Thyssen’s family.  When the Netherlands surrendered to the Germans in May 1940, the U. S. government froze all Dutch assets in the United States, including Union Banking’s assets, to protect them from the Nazis.

Despite their best efforts to extricate themselves, Prescott and his associates carried on as directors of Union Banking, operating under the supervision of the Treasury Dept., and a front page story in the New York Herald Tribune on July 31, 1941 publicized their connection with Union Banking.  In November 1941 the U. S. government reclassified Union Banking as a German-owned business.  Following U.S. entry into the war after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9095 which established the Office of Alien Property and empowered the Alien Property Custodian to confiscate businesses owned by enemy nationals, a category that included Union Banking.

[See Chapter 4, pp. 59-63]

Source Notes:  The Herald Tribune article was published on page 1.  A clipping of the article, attached to a summary note, is in the Brown Brothers Harriman Papers at the New York Historical Society.  The clipping, as can be seen from the copy, is worn and torn.  The Office of Alien Property documents are from National Archives at College Park, Record Group 131, Office of Alien Property Custodian of the Office for Emergency Management, file for Vesting Order 248.

"Thyssen has $3,000,000 Cash in New York Vaults", New York Herald Tribune, July 3, 1941. Examiner's Report on Union Banking.
Memorandum recommending the Office of Alien Property vest Union Banking Corporation. Vesting Order 248.

George H.W. Bush Awarded World War II Medals in 1954

For his actions on September 2, 1944, Navy pilot Lt. George H. W. Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  He had completed a bombing run after his plane was hit by flak, before jumping from the plane over the ocean.  His two crewmates did not survive the mission. 

Bush's campaign literature and biographies since 1964 have mentioned, in addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross, the three Air Medals he received for his service in the Pacific.  During the war, the commander of Bush's unit recommended Air Medals for his crews only for specific heroic actions.  According to Legare Hole, another pilot in Bush's outfit, "our squadron, unlike some of the others,…did not award air medals and DFCs—I think you got air medals for every five strikes you went on, and you got the DFC for every 10—our group…didn't award anything of that nature, it was strictly on the merits of the mission."  However, after the war, veterans were entitled to request that they be awarded medals on the basis of numbers of missions flown, where appropriate.  Unlike Legare Hole, George H. W. Bush made such a request in January 1954.  The Navy checked the records, and awarded Bush an Air Medal with two gold stars (equivalent to three Air Medals) in April 1954 for flights he had made ten years before. 

[See Chapter 12, pp. 213-214]

Source Notes: The documents were obtained from the Bureau of Naval Personnel by a researcher in 1991.

Recommendation approved April 21, 1954 that Lt. George H. W. Bush be awarded an Air Medal with two gold stars for his service in the Pacific during World War Two. George H.W. Bush Citation #1
George H.W. Bush Citation #2 George H.W. Bush Citation #3

George W. Bush’s Great-Uncle an Alcoholic and “quite a ladies’ man”

Prescott Bush’s brother James Smith Bush, an alcoholic, died blind and bankrupt in a Veterans Administration hospital in the Philippines in May 1978.  Formerly a respected banker, Jim Bush had come to the Philippines after having embezzled money and abandoned his fourth wife. In better days, as a prominent citizen in St. Louis in 1958, Jim had been considered by the Eisenhower administration for a position on the Federal Reserve Board. Bush did not get that appointment, but the following year Eisenhower appointed him a director of the U. S. Export-Import Bank; John F. Kennedy reappointed him in 1961.  Neither administration was put off by the results of the pre-appointment investigation done by the FBI, which revealed that in 1946 Bush had lost a job due to his binge drinking, and that his second wife, who divorced him in 1952, had complained of his drinking.  Nor were they influenced by Director J. Edgar Hoover’s cover letter, accompanying the FBI report, which revealed that sources had said off the record that Jim Bush was “quite a ladies’ man.”  When Bush complained in 1959 that the FBI agents investigating him had talked too much, an internal investigation concluded that “Bush is resentful of our investigation of him which, incidentally, indicated that he is not as above reproach as he claimed.”  Jim Bush is buried in a corner of the Prescott Bushes’ plot in Putnam Cemetery, Greenwich CT.

[See Chapter 8, pp. 139-141 and Chapter 18, pp. 359-361]

Source Notes: This material was included in the James Smith Bush FBI file released through the Freedom of Information Act in April 2003. The black-bordered rectangles are redactions by the FBI made under the Privacy Act to protect the privacy of individuals that might still be living. Handwritten notes were on the copies as we received them.

File copy of J. Edgar Hoover cover letter to General Wilton Parsons, August 5, 1959, concerning summary of FBI investigation of James Smith Bush, who was nominated to be a director of the U. S. Export-Import Bank By President Eisenhower later in August 1959. An FBI Memorandum from Rosen to Gallan, August 10, 1959, concerning an internal investigation of James Smith Bush's complaints concerning the FBI investigation of him.
File copy of J. Edgar Hoover cover letter to P. Kenneth O'Donnell, March 6, 1961, concerning a 1961 update of the 1959 investigation of James Smith Bush, who was reappointed as a director of the U. S. Export-Import Bank by President Kennedy later in March 1961.

Friends and Family Invest in George W. Bush

George W. Bush settled into the business world in Midland, TX in 1978 after losing his bid for a congressional seat.  He ran an oil exploration company originally called Arbusto Energy, Inc.  As president of Arbusto, he financed exploration by setting up a series of limited partnerships.  His uncle Jonathan Bush, a New York stockbroker, helped George W. line up investors for these partnerships.  Arbusto’s first limited partnership was Arbusto 79, Ltd.  The list of investors included: George W.’s grandmother, Dorothy Walker Bush; and James Bath, a mysterious figure who had been in the Texas Air National Guard with George W. and who represented Sheik Khalid bin Mahfouz, banker for the Saudia Arabian Royal family.  In 1982, Arbusto Energy became Bush Exploration in order to attract more investors.  The company was not successful under either name.  In 1984, Bush Exploration merged with another company and became Spectrum 7. George W. Bush was Chairman and CEO of Spectrum 7, which in its turn failed.  In 1986, Spectrum 7 merged with Harken Energy.  Bush became a director of Harken and a consultant, and acquired Harken stock.  Harken acquired the Bush name.  The investors in Arbusto 79, Ltd., got nothing.

[See Chapter 20, pp. 422-428]

Source Note: These are public documents, copies of which were obtained from the Office of the Secretary of State of Texas.

Certificate of Formation of a Limited Partnership, filed in the Office of the Secretary of State of Texas August 30, 1979. Amendment to Certificate of Limited Partnership of Arbusto 79, Ltd., filed in the Office of the Secretary of State of Texas, October 9, 1979. Certificate of Cancellation filed in the Office of the Secretary of State of Texas Dec. 30, 1988, when Spectrum 7—the successor of Bush Exploration, which had originally been Arbusto Energy—merged with Harken Energy.

President’s Son Jeb Bush Mining for Gold with Water Pumps

In 1988, Jeb Bush joined with David Eller of M & W Pump Company in an enterprise to sell water pumps in Mexico, Asia and Africa.  Jeb and Columba Bush, and David Eller and his wife, arrived in Nigeria on March 2, 1989 for a “private” trip on behalf of M & W Pump.  The trip, arranged by the State Department, turned into a series of public celebrations as Jeb’s party traveled through the country.  On March 7, Jeb visited with the president of Nigeria. 

After the Bushes and Ellers had gone home, President George H. W. Bush sent a thank-you letter to President Babangida.  A proposed state visit to the United States by Babangida in January 1990 was cancelled when the political situation in Nigeria deteriorated. Jeb tried to arrange a second visit to Nigeria in 1990, but security considerations caused it to be cancelled twice.  In June 1991, Jeb and David Eller quietly paid a second visit to Nigeria.  This time, unlike his first trip, Jeb was accompanied by a U. S. Secret Service detail. A hotel bill in Lagos went unpaid and was brought to the attention of the Secret Service.  In 1992, Nigeria bought $74 million worth of pumps from M & W with a loan guaranteed by the U. S. Export-Import Bank.  Jeb’s relationship with Eller proved very lucrative.

[See Chapter 20, pp. 410-411]

Source Notes: These are government documents released by the State Department in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Cable concerning Jeb's trip in March 1989: 3 pages describing Jeb's visit with the president of Nigeria on March 7. Cable concerning Jeb's trip in March 1989: 2 pages, on page 2 Jeb's trip is described as "a sensation". Cable concerning Jeb's trip in March 1989: 2 pages describing President George H. W. Bush's thank-you letter to the president of Nigeria.
Cable concerning Jeb's trip in March 1989: 3 pages describing the meritorious honor award given to the security officer who planned Jeb's trip. Cable describing the problems confronting a proposed trip by Jeb in May 1990. The trip was cancelled for security reasons. June 1991 monthly status report. On page 2 it indicates that the United States Secret Service (USSS) had been informed that there was a hotel bill outstanding for Jeb Bush's visit that month.

Prescott S. Bush as Treasurer of Planned Parenthood First National Fundrasing Drive—1947

Planned Parenthood fundraising letter of January 8, 1947, lists Prescott S. Bush as treasurer of Margaret Sanger's first national fundraising drive. At that time, contraception was against the law in Connecticut, and the state had a large Catholic constituency. In 1950, during Prescott's first race for the U.S. Senate, the syndicated columnist Drew Pearson accused Bush of being a member of Planned Parenthood. Bush lost and accused Pearson of spreading the lie that cost him elected office. This fund-raising letter proved Pearson right.

Planned Parenthood fundraising letter.