Jeb Bush, Gary Chartrand Among Past Campaign Contributors to Tony Bennett

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And Tony Bennett’s Contributors Are….

December 17, 2012

By Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

The Florida media has thus far been disinterested in Tony Bennett’s political contributors to his Indiana campaign. Perhaps these will raise some eyebrows.

Former governor Jeb Bush founded a consulting firm, Jeb Bush and Associates, LLC after leaving the governor’s mansion. Bush’s consulting firm has made only one political contribution – to Bennett on March 28 of this year.  Bennett was recognized as one of the Bush Foundation’s Chiefs for Change. Bush appointed three of the seven state board members who selected Bennett. Bush also made a personal contribution of $500 to Bennett in October as John E. Bush.

Current board chairman Gary Chartrand was appointed by  Rick Scott  and his appointment began on May 11, 2011. Five months later in October of 2011, Chartrand directed his trust to donate $5000 to Bennett’s campaign elevated to chairman of the Florida board of education directed his trust to give Bennett’s campaign $5000 in 2011.

There are other troubling contributions:

* The top policy advisor for Jeb Bush, Patricia Levesque made a 2011 campaign contribution in 2011  to Bennett from her consulting firm Meridian Strategies.

* Current state board member John Padget’s consulting company, Padget-Dekker Holdings LTD made a March 2012 donation of $500 to Bennett’s campaign.

* Charter Schools USA wasn’t the only big Florida charter school corporation who donated to Bennett’s campaign. On the same day, the Bush’s consulting firm was making it’s contribution to Bennett, a finance company associated with Academica Charter Schools sent Bennett $1000.

There was significant desperation among the powerful education reform movement to save Tony Bennett in Indiana. Along with Eli Broad, whose $50,000 contribution I mentioned last week was a breathtaking  $200,000 from Alice Walton (Wal-Mart) in July of 2012.

Why board members Chartrand and Padget were not compelled to mention their past financial support for Bennett while board members is uncertain, but in the interest of transparency was a troubling oversight. Moreover, Tony Bennett still has yet to be asked about these contributors who either do business with his department, or like Bush and Levesque, influence policy.  You can be sure that neither Bennett, nor his past financial backers will be bringing it up.

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