Friday, July 30, 2010

Miersgate (remember Harriet Miers)
Several months ago many of us felt that the Lottery Commission should rebid the GTech contract when it came up for renewal. Leaders of the Republican Party strongly supported rebidding and I believe the Chair of the Commission also wanted to rebid. It is now time to disclose at least one reason why it was not rebid. Governor Bush thru Reggie Bashur made a deal with Ben Barnes not to rebid because Barnes could confirm that Bush had lied during the 94 campaign.

Bashur was sent to talk to Barnes who agreed never to confirm the story and the Governor talked to the Chair of the Lottery two days later and she then agreed to support letting GTech keep the contract without a bid.

This was not the end of Miers' efforts to silence Barnes. In 1998, when Bush was running for re-election as Texas Governor, Karen Hughes was laying the groundwork for a 2000 Presidential campaign. To make sure there were no skeletons in Bush's closet, Hughes hired Miers to "scrub" any potential problems. Miers sent Bush's top fundraiser, Don Evans, to see Barnes to make sure the $23 million bribe was still in effect. As Newsweek's Michael Isikoff wrote on 7/20/2000:

The Bushies' concern began while he was running for a second term as governor. A hard-nosed Dallas lawyer named Harriet Miers was retained to investigate the issue; state records show Miers was paid $19,000 by the Bush gubernatorial campaign. She and other aides quickly identified a problem--rumors that Bush had help from his father in getting into the National Guard back in 1968. Ben Barnes, a prominent Texas Democrat and a former speaker of the House in the state legislature, told friends he used his influence to get George W a guard slot after receiving a request from Houston oilman Sid Adger. Barnes said Adger told him he was calling on behalf of the elder George Bush, then a Texas congressman. Both Bushes deny seeking any help from Barnes or Adger, who has since passed away. Concerned that Barnes might go public with his allegations, the Bush campaign sent Don Evans, a friend of W's, to hear Barnes's story. Barnes acknowledged that he hadn't actually spoken directly to Bush Sr. and had no documents to back up his story. As the Bush campaign saw it, that let both Bushes off the hook. And the National Guard question seemed under control.

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