Bush Brother Joins Ted Cruz’s Finance Team

Hint: It’s the one who was involved in a $1.3 billion banking scandal.

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


While the political world speculates on whether Jeb Bush will endorse his onetime protege Marco Rubio ahead of the Florida primary, another Bush brother has thrown his support to Rubio’s rival, Ted Cruz. According to the Cruz campaign, Neil Bush, Jeb and George W.’s younger brother, has signed on as member of its national finance team.

Neil has a colorful business background, dating back to his role in the spectacular collapse of the Silverado Savings and Loan in 1988. Bush, who served on the bank’s board of directors, was singled out by regulators for engaging “in unsafe and unsound practices involving multiple conflicts of interest,” according to an administrative law judge (who nonetheless recommended mild disciplinary action against the Bush brother). Neil, who denied any wrongdoing, allegedly failed to mention to other board members that two of the bank’s biggest borrowers were also his business associates. Bush’s partners ultimately defaulted on more than $100 million in loans, helping to sink the bank, whose implosion cost taxpayers more than $1.3 billion. Bush and the other directors of the bank were later personally sued for “gross negligence” by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; he settled his portion of the case for $50,000.

Here’s a quick summary of Bush’s alleged involvement:

At the center of the allegations against Bush were his relationships with two Colorado developers, Bill L. Walters and Kenneth M. Good. The two developers ultimately defaulted on more than $100 million in loans from Silverado, which helped bring about its collapse, according to regulators.

The regulators charged that Neil Bush failed to disclose adequately to his fellow directors that he had extensive business dealings with the developers at a time that they were receiving loans from Silverado.

According to the charges, Neil Bush violated his duties by voting to approve loans to Walters without disclosing the extent of his business deals with Walters and he personally arranged for Walters to receive a $900,000 line of credit from Silverado.

The regulators also accused Bush of failing to tell his fellow directors that Good was preparing to invest $3 million in Bush’s oil drilling firm at a time Good told Silverado he was broke and could not make his loan payments. Good also loaned Bush $100,000 that was never repaid.

While Cruz has won Neil Bush’s backing, his brother George, whose 2000 campaign Cruz worked for, doesn’t seem likely to throw his support to the Texas senator. “I just don’t like that guy,” he told donors last year.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest