Ex-Bush Loyalists: Where Are They Now? | The Nation


Ex-Bush Loyalists: Where Are They Now?

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Talking Heads and Lobbyists

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Nick Turse
Nick Turse is the managing editor of Tomdispatch.com and an Investigative Fund Fellow at The Nation Institute. He is...

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The US military continues a long series of mistakes, missteps and mishaps across Africa.

Despite US military efforts, maritime insecurity has been markedly on the rise in the waters off West Africa. 

Some Bush loyalists have nabbed other sorts of speaking gigs. Karl Rove, for one, took a job as an analyst for Fox News. (He also writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal and, in 2007, signed a two-year deal to be a columnist for Newsweek magazine.)

Ari Fleischer was hired as a media consultant to the Green Bay Packers in 2008 and serves as the president of Ari Fleischer Communications, Inc., which bills itself as a "unique media training and consultancy company [that] brings to the world of sports the lessons of how to successfully handle the toughest situations with the most aggressive reporters." (Clients reportedly include Major League Baseball, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and "several other leading sports figures.")

Many more Bush loyalists, however, are involved in another lucrative form of communication. For example, Michael Chertoff quickly launched the Chertoff Group, a consulting firm that "will advise clients on a range of security concerns, including cyber security, terrorism, fraud, border protection and supply-chain security." Tom Ridge, when not serving as a keynote-speaker-for-hire (as he did recently at the 2009 CoBank Energy Directors Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado) is now a security and crisis-management consultant for his own firm, Ridge Global, whose self-professed "expertise encompasses risk management and global trade security, leadership guidance and strategic business generation, event security, crisis management and communications, campus security, technology innovation and integration and more."

In fact, a recent analysis by USA Today found that "more than one in four members of President George W. Bush's Cabinet have landed jobs with consulting or lobbying firms in which they can help clients navigate the departments they once oversaw." And it's not just heads of executive departments like Homeland Security who are cashing in.

John Ashcroft (Attorney General, 2001-2005) co-founded the Ashcroft Group, a strategic consulting firm that advises and invests "in companies in the security and law enforcement marketplaces." Not surprisingly, the firm has become a home for Bush loyalists like Juleanna Glover, who served on the senior staffs of then President-elect George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, and was then "the registered US government affairs advisor for Iraq's first post-Saddam Hussein ambassador to the United States."

Recently, according to the Quad City Times, Jim Nussle, Bush's director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (2007-2009), "formed a company that will offer consulting, government relations and lobbying services." The Nussle Group, its website proclaims, "specializes in recruiting a talented team and developing creative solutions to assist clients in navigating the complicated and challenging intersections of public policy, government relations, public relations, international relations and politics."

According to his company bio, the senior policy director at lobbying powerhouse Dutko Worldwide, Gene Hickok, "joined the George W. Bush Administration as Under Secretary of Education. He became Deputy Secretary in 2003 [and] was an architect of the No Child Left Behind Act." And he isn't alone. Kent Sholars, a Senior Associate at Dutko, "was a political appointee during both terms of the administration of George W. Bush, serving as the Confidential Assistant to the Controller for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in Washington, DC," while Karen Yeager, a Dutko vice president, "serve[d] in the White House for President Bush in 2001."


Karen Hughes helped George W. Bush get elected in 2000 and, for the first two years of his first term, served him as a "counselor." In 2002, she left the White House to spend more time with her family in Texas. In 2004, however, she was back at work on Bush's campaign and then, in 2005, signed on as an undersecretary of state. In 2007, she left again, the White House said, "to spend more time with her family." Nonetheless, in 2008, she was in an office yet again, this time as global vice chair at public relations giant Burson-Marsteller. In 2009, she was joined there by former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, who now serves as chief issues counselor for the company in the US.

Here, too, Michael Chertoff has gotten into the act. The announcement of the formation of the Chertoff Group, wrote the Wall Street Journal, "was made by the communications firm Burson-Marsteller, which said it formed an alliance with Mr. Chertoff."

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