Jeb Bush quitting Tenet Healthcare board

He’s been criticized and defended on AT for taking a board seat at Tenet Healthcare, a major beneficiary of Obamacare, but now Jeb Bush has decided to step down.  Joseph Tanfani of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Bush is quitting Tenet Healthcare Corp. — a company that has profited from Obamacare — and is ending a consulting contract with Barclays Bank to focus on his political future. Aides say he also has stopped giving highly paid speeches to focus on traveling America, meeting with potential donors and testing what a friend calls a “visionary” brand of campaigning.

But Bush’s business record, enmeshed in international finance and some troubled former ventures in south Florida, could end up complicating his return to politics and his hopes to follow his father, George H.W. Bush, and his older brother, George W. Bush, into the Oval Office.

No word yet on Bush’s role in offshore investment funds, which I incorrectly took as a sign that he was more interested in building wealth than in running for office.

Bloomberg reports (via The Weekly Standard):

"Documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 27 list Bush as chairman and manager of a new offshore private equity fund, BH Global Aviation, which raised $61 million in September, largely from foreign ­investors. In November the fund ­incorporated in the United Kingdom and Wales­—a ­structure, several independent finance lawyers say, that operates like a tax haven by allowing overseas investors to avoid U.S. taxes and regulations.

"BH Global Aviation is one of at least three such funds Bush has launched in less than two years through his Coral Gables (Fla.) company, Britton Hill Holdings. He’s also chairman of a $26 million fund, BH Logistics, established in April with backing from a Chinese conglomerate, and a $40 million fund involved in shale oil exploration, ­according to documents filed in June and first ­reported on by Bloomberg News. His flurry of ventures doesn’t suggest someone preparing to run for president, according to a dozen fund managers, lawyers, and ­private-placement agents who were ­apprised of his recent activities by Bloomberg Businessweek. Most private equity funds have a life span of 10 years. While it isn’t impossible that Bush could bail on his investors so soon after taking their money, “that would be unusual,” says Steven Kaplan, a private equity expert at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. One fundraiser for private equity adds that normally you’d be winding down such businesses, rather than expanding them, if you were going to run."

Tanfani notes:

During the 2012 race, Romney drew ceaseless attacks from Democrats for his lucrative work at Bain Capital, a pioneering venture capital company that bought scores of troubled companies, took over their management and sometimes laid off employees while garnering huge fees and payouts.

But Bush and his aides argue that his investments and entrepreneurial ventures are different because he isn’t taking control of companies and restructuring them.

“These are all growth investments that the governor has worked on,” said Bush’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell.

Bush’s latest undertaking is as a partner in three privately held funds that have raised a total of $127 million for investments in domestic and foreign companies. Bill Parish, an investment advisor in Portland, Ore., says the funds are fairly small in the private equity world.

But in the heat of a political campaign, Parish said, opaque investment vehicles, especially involving overseas accounts, inevitably will raise questions about the identities of his investors and the nature of their businesses.

Mitt Romney did great work building companies and adding jobs, yet he was savaged for his role in investing – and lost a race he should have been able to win. Will Jeb follow the same path? Or will he be more willing to hit back? Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren have both cashed in from corporoate America, and both are probably worth more today than Jeb.

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