Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Neil's Greedy Fingers In The Pie

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 — The inspector general of the Department of Education has said he will examine whether federal money was inappropriately used by three states to buy educational products from a company owned by Neil Bush, the president’s brother.

School districts in Texas, Florida, and Nevada have purchased products from Ignite Learning at the cost of, at least, $1 million, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The group says that this is only the amount that they have documented so far.

Members of the group and other critics in Texas contend that school districts are buying Ignite’s signature product, the Curriculum on Wheels, because of political considerations. The product, they said, does not meet standards for financing under the No Child Left Behind Act, which allocates federal money to help students raise their achievement levels, particularly in elementary school reading.

Investors in Ignite, Neil Bush's company, include Barbara Bush and George H. W. Bush. Was this investment by the senior Bushes another bailout of a Bush son?

Ken Leonard, the vice president and chief financial officer at Ignite, said the company had no way of knowing if districts were using federal money to buy its products.

“We have absolutely no influence or control over decisions our individual customers make about how they choose to purchase our products,” Mr. Leonard said, adding that Ignite sold its products in “an ethical, straightforward manner.”


Ignite has a program known as Adopt-a-Cow (a cash cow for Neil Bush?) in which companies buy the Ignite products and donate them to public schools. In 2006, Barbara Bush donated eight units to schools in Texas serving Katrina evacuees, but here's the catch. Neil sent an email to the school district telling them “in order for the schools to keep the Cows in subsequent years they will have to pay an annual fee of $1,000”. These folks never give up.

...This week, the Houston Independent School District is set to consider whether to authorize schools to spend an additional $300,000 from various financing sources on the Curriculum on Wheels.

Jay Spuck, a former curriculum director for the district, has criticized spending on the Ignite product, saying: “It’s not helping kids at all. It’s not helping teachers. The only way Neil has gotten in is by his name.”
Ya think?

Neil is planning to expand his sales throughout the US and into China. Neil Bush and China? That rings a bell.

From the Washington Post if you have the stomach for it.

Thanks to Roger for the tip on the NYT story and the cash-cow idea.


  1. Are we surprised? I think not!

    You can't make this up.

    Oh and why would one want to?

  2. They have no shame, no shame at all.

  3. This is unbelievable.

    I think what stuns me most is that I still have the capacity to be shocked at the shenanigans of this family of outlaws.

  4. Mags, don't run out of outrage. No doubt there's more to come.


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