or what you can find on the Internet.
Dick Cheney accidentally shot Austin Texas lawyer Harry Whittington in a hunting accident. at the Armstrong Ranch in Texas. This was not a working-class-guy day in the woods. The owners of the Armstrong Ranch are friends of the Bush family and were invited to a White House sleepover probably after the 2000 election.
When George W. Bush still governor there was a big flap when a former employee of the Texas Funeral Service Commission filed a whistle blower suit, alleging that she had been fired for trying to fine Service Corporation International (SCI) over irregular operation of funeral homes. In a shake up of the commission, Bush appointed Whittington to be board chairman of the commission.
SCI, owned by friends of the Bush family, continued to be in the news. In 2000-2001, Menorah Gardens, a subsidiary of SCI. “desecrated vaults, removed hundreds of bodies from two cemeteries in Florida and dumped the gruesome remains in woods frequented by wild hogs.” After Katrina, FEMA hired another SCI subsidiary, Kenyon International to set up mobile morgue in Baton Rouge.
Here are a couple of quotes from the Raw Story article.
Waltrip, chairman of SCI, is a longtime friend of Bush’s father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush. The firm’s political action committee donated $45,000 to George W. Bush’s 1994 gubernatorial campaign.
The company also contributed more than $100,000 for construction of the George H.W. Bush presidential library.
Waltrip and an SCI lobbyist met with Governor Bush’s chief of staff, Joe Allbaugh (Allbaugh was later appointed head of FEMA after Bush became President, but left to become a lobbyist representing Halliburton, among other corporate clients)
Some notes. White House for Sale tracks presidential campaign contributions for both parties. The first Austin Chronicle article spoke well of Whittington. There is more about him on the Internet that I didn’t chase down. There was some problem with the FEMA contract with Kenyon International and Governor Blanco is the one who signed off on the deal.
There is no scandal handling of Kenyon International’s handling of Katrina victims that I know of, but I’m not very comfortable with that arrangement. Shooting aside, the rest of the material shouldn’t be a surprise. It is pretty well know that W. has raised cronyism to a high art to the detriment of the public good. Fema’s handling of Katrina and appointment of coal company executives to oversee mine safety (and their actions) are two recent examples. Does this show that W. shook up the Texas Funeral service commission to protect a friend? Not really, but I suspect that he did.