February 13, 2004
It's good to be a Bush

That's our school board.

Houston school board members unanimously agreed Thursday to accept $115,000 in charitable donations that will be funneled to an educational software company founded by Neil Bush, the brother of President Bush.

A watchdog group and legal scholars earlier this week said the deal raised legal and ethical concerns because Bush and officials of his company were involved in soliciting the donations to the HISD Foundation, a philanthropic group that helps the Houston Independent School District.

HISD trustees delayed a vote on the matter in December, saying they were concerned that Bush's Austin-based company, Ignite, might be benefiting from his family name. On Thursday, the nine board members approved the funding without discussion.

Trustee Larry Marshall said in December he wanted more information on the effectiveness of Ignite's educational value and why there was no competitive bidding for the software.

On Thursday, Marshall said HISD administrators assured him that open bidding will be used on similar future projects. School districts are allowed to buy educational software without bidding because the products are so specialized.

Rick Cohen, director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, has called the arrangement "self-dealing" that "pushes the border of legality."

Foundation officials have said the deal was legal.

No word as to whether any women will be sent to Neil Bush's hotel room as part of the deal. Thanks to Kenneth for the tip.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 13, 2004 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack

Does no one in any position of authority in Texas ever do a smell test? Or is the public so inured to it that it just doesn't matter? This reeks of cronyism.

Posted by: Linkmeister on February 13, 2004 3:56 PM