Saturday, March 25, 2006

Bush League Giving

Big ups to Andrew Sullivan, who ran this initially.

From the Houston Chronicle:

As Barbara Bush spent two hours championing her son's software company at a Houston middle school Thursday morning, a watchdog group questioned whether the former first lady should be allowed to channel a donation to Neil Bush's Ignite Learning company through Houston's Hurricane Katrina relief fund.....

She gave specific instructions that part of the money be sent to the Scottish Space School Foundation. She asked that group, in turn, to use the money to buy eight Ignite systems — valued at $3,800 each — for Harris County schools with large numbers of Hurricane Katrina evacuees, according to Bush and fund officials.

Steve Maislin, president of the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which is administering the $979,000 relief fund that Bush donated to, said the donation was made legally and properly.

"Mrs. Bush wanted to support the local hurricane effort," he said. "She could have done it directly. She chose to do it through here to get the word out about the fund."

While HISD has a policy that prevents the district and its schools from endorsing or promoting the "merit of a brand name or trademarked products," Houston officials defended the event

Earmarking disaster relief funds at all seems a little weird to me. Earmarking them so that, in effect, your money ends up going to your son seems....weirder. Promoting all of this at a middle school? Well, in the era of corporate snack machine sponsorship, I suppose it's just sort of inevitable.

Legal and proper or otherwise, it just doesn't seem right to me. But that's a question of personal ethics, probably. What's "right" to me isn't necessarily (or probably) what's "right" to Babs Bushie. It's probably right to support her son. It's just...kind of selfish to me. It's not like Neil's not doing alright, despite his own apparent predilection toward asian prostitutes and corporate scandal.

There's something less-than-magnanimous about giving money to a charity so that the money will be redistributed to your own family.

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