Neil Bush's involvement in raising money for an HISD charitable foundation to help buy his company's educational software raises serious legal and ethical concerns, experts say.
The head of a national watchdog group described it as "self-dealing" and characterized the agreement as pushing "the border of legality."
Bush's Austin-based company, Ignite, agreed last summer to provide its eighth-grade U.S. history software to 23 HISD schools at half price this academic year, on the condition that the HISD Foundation, a philanthropic group, would come up with the remainder of the funds. The schools, which have been using the curriculum since August, each paid Ignite $5,000.
Some observers question the role that Bush and his company played in raising the additional money through the philanthropic organization because Bush and other Ignite executives contacted major donors, asking them to make tax-exempt, charitable contributions earmarked for the for-profit business.
LIST OF DONORS
Donations made to the HISD Foundation for purchasing educational software from Neil Bush's company came from:
• The Friedkin Companies, Inc. $25,000
• Landry's Restaurant Foundation $25,000*
• Wells Fargo Foundation $25,000
• Former Iranian Ambassador and Mrs. Hushang Ansary $25,000
• Astros in Action Foundation $10,000
• Stearns Charitable Fund $5,000
Neil, with his whoring, conniving crony capitalism, represents in many ways a more forthright version of the entire Bush family in microcosm.
*Landry's generous contribution, by the way, represents Chairman and CEO Tilman Fertitta's desire to bet on two horses, given his prior charitable support of Sharon Bush's pet projects and now of her adulterous ex-husband's self-directed charity.