home

Bush Administration Overpays For Mineral Rights

by TChris

Scandalous stories about the Bush administration appear with regularity. If a presidential lie about a private moment deserves impeachment, what does this story merit?

The Bush administration's offer in 2002 to overpay a prominent Florida family for oil and gas rights on Everglades land by as much as $80 million was "at best, foolish and, at worst, complicit," the Interior Department's inspector general said today.

Foolish or complicit; incompetent or crooked. Here's the evidence of the latter:

Members of the Collier family contributed more than $121,000 to Republican candidates in the last election cycle, including at least $5,000 to Jeb Bush, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign donations.

The administration touted the deal as proof that it wanted to protect the Everglades. Two weeks later, the president's brother announced his bid for reelection, "leading critics to suggest he was seeking to burnish his environmental credentials through the Collier land transaction."

The Clinton administration refused to overpay the Colliers for their mineral rights. That attitude changed shortly after the Bush administration made Ann Klee the transitional administrator of Interior in January 2001. Klee quickly made the generous deal with the Collier family. Klee and two ID lawyers worked overtime to find justification for the overpayment, ignoring Clinton administration appraisals of the mineral rights and commissioning three appraisals of their own before finding one that valued the rights "between $31 million and $140 million."

At least one Senator has noticed:

"This transaction is an outrage," said Montana Senator Max Baucus, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee. "Apparently, the department allowed the taxpayers to be fleeced for $70 million to $80 million, and then authorized a tax deduction for the fleecing."

Will the rest of the country notice?

< Guantanamo Won't Be Closed ... Unless It's Closed | Australian Baggage Handler Arrested >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft


  • I am sure that Richard Mellon Scaife will have his reporters all over this story.

    Re: Bush Administration Overpays For Mineral Right (none / 0) (#2)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:51 PM EST
    No, see, if Clinton had overpaid them, Bush wouldn't have had to. It's Clinton's fault!

    You know, right about now, Bush could go on national t.v., kill newborn puppies, and eat their livers with a side of fava beans.....and the rightwing would still worship him like a latter day diety...they should call him the teflon President, christ, the man can do no wrong.

    Re: Bush Administration Overpays For Mineral Right (none / 0) (#4)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:52 PM EST
    Money,Money makes the world go-around, what fun.

    Re: Bush Administration Overpays For Mineral Right (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:52 PM EST
    The teflon president...I like that. And he does remind me of a mafia boss, just with less integrity.

    Time for Roy to chime in, "Now, let's not leap to conclusions here. There's no proof, after all, that the $80 million overpayment was payback for the $112,000 given to Republicans. I'll need to see a notarized statement from the Colliers affirming this is so before I'd believe anything so incredible. And that notary better not be a Democrat."

    And Jim will retort, "You tell 'em, Roy, and what about that Clinton replacing his golf ball on the fairway? Liberals never mention that, do they, and we got witnesses proving it!"

    Re: Bush Administration Overpays For Mineral Right (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jlvngstn on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:52 PM EST
    The assessments were all over the place on the property. The last one was 31-140 million. There was one in the Clinton era that surpassed 100 million. Seems to me that this is inconclusive at best.

    Che, I was not clear. TChris's headline: "Bush Administration Overpays For Mineral Rights" The admin did not "overpay" nor did they "underpay" nor pay reasonable value - the admin has paid nothing, and looks likely that they will not pay anything.

    Thanks, JL, for your voice of reason. Oh yeah, since not one thin dime has actually changed hands for the land and the deal is sure to be "scuttled" according to the linked report, once again TChris lays out a false and misleading headline. But hey, don't read the report, just flail wildly in response to his untruthful and inflamatory headline.

    Re: Bush Administration Overpays For Mineral Right (none / 0) (#10)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:53 PM EST
    Sarcastic, The last paragraph of the article I read states that there is enough oil there to supply the needs of the US for 2,two,II days.

    Re: Bush Administration Overpays For Mineral Right (none / 0) (#12)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:54 PM EST
    Does the Collier family know that?

    Re: Bush Administration Overpays For Mineral Right (none / 0) (#13)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:54 PM EST
    Sorry, wasn't following this thread...
    Time for Roy to chime in, "Now, let's not leap to conclusions here."
    I set down the one page checklist of logical fallacies I printed out for Philosophy 101 so I could beat my libertarian drum with both hands. So mostly I'm mad that we spent any money to preserve nasty old swamp land that could be used for something productive like a Wal-Mart or shooting range. But, as long as I'm here, I'll make a half-hearted attempt... A: (Golf ball / fairway approach) There's about as much evidence that Clinton sold pardons at the end of his 2nd term as there is that Bush sold this sweet deal. B: (Cynical apathy approach) Politicians, left or right, are bought pretty routinely. Why not just appreciate that the corruption has preserved the environment this time? C: (Blaming the other side) Power corrupts, and liberals are the ones who gave the feds the power to meddle in environmental affairs like this.