Bush Fund Raiser Caught on Tape offering access for Library Donation

Rick Moran
The TimesOnline has Bush fundraiser and a member of his Homeland Security Advisory Council Stephen Payne on tape offering a reporter posing as a representative of an "exiled former central Asian president high level access to executive branch employees in return for a cash contribution to the proposed Bush library.

You can
watch the "transaction" here.

TOL makes it clear that this kind of thing happens with every administration and that there is nothing illegal about it. And one must admit, it is a far cry from President Clinton offering pardons for library donations as was almost certainly the case in the Marc Rich affair where immediately after Rich was pardoned, his wife made a million dollar donation to the Clinton library.

Still, it is shocking to listen to Payne rattle off the officials that the "central Asian president" would be able to meet if he gave $600,000 or more to Payne's lobbying group Worldwide Strategic Partners. Payne promised that $250,000 would go to the library with the balance going to WSP.

The left is making out that Payne and Bush are joined at the hip. That doesn't seem to be the case although the two are friends and have known each other for years. Buying access is unethical but is so routine in the modern presidency that the only way it could be considered illegal is if an actual quid pro quo could be proved, i.e. a monetary benefit accruing to the donor as a direct result of his contribution. We call that bribery. But in other cases involving this and other administrations, it would be impossible to say that there is a direct link between the contribution and some favor - just as it is hard to do with campaign contributions from lobbyists.

Perhaps the whole rotten process should be illegal - buying "access" should be made a crime. But since so many benefit as a result of this loophole, it is doubtful it will ever be closed.
The TimesOnline has Bush fundraiser and a member of his Homeland Security Advisory Council Stephen Payne on tape offering a reporter posing as a representative of an "exiled former central Asian president high level access to executive branch employees in return for a cash contribution to the proposed Bush library.

You can
watch the "transaction" here.

TOL makes it clear that this kind of thing happens with every administration and that there is nothing illegal about it. And one must admit, it is a far cry from President Clinton offering pardons for library donations as was almost certainly the case in the Marc Rich affair where immediately after Rich was pardoned, his wife made a million dollar donation to the Clinton library.

Still, it is shocking to listen to Payne rattle off the officials that the "central Asian president" would be able to meet if he gave $600,000 or more to Payne's lobbying group Worldwide Strategic Partners. Payne promised that $250,000 would go to the library with the balance going to WSP.

The left is making out that Payne and Bush are joined at the hip. That doesn't seem to be the case although the two are friends and have known each other for years. Buying access is unethical but is so routine in the modern presidency that the only way it could be considered illegal is if an actual quid pro quo could be proved, i.e. a monetary benefit accruing to the donor as a direct result of his contribution. We call that bribery. But in other cases involving this and other administrations, it would be impossible to say that there is a direct link between the contribution and some favor - just as it is hard to do with campaign contributions from lobbyists.

Perhaps the whole rotten process should be illegal - buying "access" should be made a crime. But since so many benefit as a result of this loophole, it is doubtful it will ever be closed.