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Politics / Issues

Jeb Earned Over $9 million in Business Deals, Paid Speeches

AP Photo/Jim Cole
Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during a forum, Aug. 3, in Manchester, N.H.

Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush earned more than $9 million over the last 17 months from speaking fees and an assortment of business interests, including a health services firm in Puerto Rico and an online lending operation, according to newly released financial records.

The former Florida governor has pegged his own net worth between $19 million and $22 million, much of it based on a trove of investments that include mutual funds, securities, stocks and bonds. He also owns a variety of real estate interests stretching from condominiums in Miami to investments in retail developments in Marseille, France, and an office development in Mumbai, India.

Bush reported more than $1.8 million in speaking fees since the beginning of 2014. That's an average of just over $42,000 for each speech.

His single largest source of income was Jeb Bush & Associates, which collected his speaking fees and performs strategy and consulting work. Bush says he no longer owns that firm, but he declared $7.1 million in income from that entity.

In addition to that income, Bush also reported substantial financial assets, including stock funds and loans provided through Lending Club, an online peer-to-peer lending service.

One of his investments, through a business entity called Bonefish Grande LLC, is in DocuSign Inc., an increasingly valuable Internet cloud platform for electronically signing legal and other documents. Bush's stake is worth between $250,000 and $500,000 but generated no partnership income in either 2014 or 2015, he reported.

Bush reported that another corporate entity, BHAG LLC, based in Miami, held both a Sun Trust bank account and an agreement for a book. The corporate entity has also filed a notice of intent to trademark the name "JEB!" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. Bush's disclosure noted drily that "the value of that intellectual property is not readily ascertainable."

In two instances, Bush had invested in assets unknown even to him. Notes appended to the financial disclosure states that two funds in which he held stakes refused to provide him with information about their underlying holdings.

Bush had already released decades of his personal tax returns, including one for 2013 in which he earned $7.3 million and paid $2.9 million in federal income taxes. The new disclosure, filed with the Federal Election Commission, lists board of director roles or affiliations in 26 companies and foundations, including the presidential library of his father, former President George H.W. Bush.

The filings reveal that Bush has benefited from business relationships with some of the same people who now back his campaign. Bush reported earning an estimated $121,889 from Clinical Medical Services Inc., a Puerto Rican home health care services company. Raul Rodriguez, president and chairman of the company, appeared on a list released last week of million-dollar donors to the super PAC supporting Bush.

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