Here's a story about G-Tech, Bush, Barnes &
the Texas Lottery that appeared in
the Sept 2003 edition of Hustler Magazine.
Posted: Saturday, Aug 30, 2003
Updated: Twice on August 31, 2003
Many thanks to the reader who provided links to me
Update - 8-31-03: Since posting this story yesterday, I have received
Now read on ...
George Wins the Lottery
The Bush family daisy chain of favors, friendship and finance goes way back to Dubyas War Years. Junior Bush was a fighter pilot during the war in Vietnam; not in the United States Air Force, where one could get seriously hurt, mind you, but in the Texas air force, known as the Texas Air National Guard. Texass toy army, an artifact of Civil War days, is a favorite club for warmongers who are a bit squeamish about actual combat. Membership excused these weekend warriors from the military draft and the real shoot-'em-up in Nam.
During the war, Senator Prescott Bush and his son, Congressman George Bush Sr., were more than happy to send other mens sons and grandsons to Southeast Asia. However, there were not enough volunteers for this suspect enterprise, so Congress created a kind of death lottery: If your birth date was picked out of a hat, off to the army you went. But the Air Guard flyboys were exempted from this macabre draft lotto.
When tested for the coveted Air Guard get-out, young George W. tested at twenty-five out of one hundred, one point above too-dumb-to-fly status, yet leaped ahead of hundreds of applicants to get the Guard slot.
Now, how could that happen? Only recently could I get a glimmer of the truth, a by-product of an Observer investigation of a New Jersey company called GTech. This firm holds the contract for a far less deadly and far more lucrative lottery operation than the one for the military draft: the Texas State Lottery.
Follow the money. Its 1997. Top-gun George Jr. is governor and GTech is in deep doo-doo with Texas lottery regulators. Texas is the nations biggest, most lucrative lottery and GTech was about to lose its contract, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The states lottery director was sacked following revelations that GTech had put the directors boyfriend on the company payroll while he was under indictment for bribery. A new clean-hands director, Lawrence Littwin, ordered an audit, terminated GTechs contract and put it out for rebid. Littwin also launched an investigation into GTechs political donations.
Then a funny thing happened: The Texas Lottery Commission fired Littwin.
Almost immediately thereafter, the Bush-appointed commissioners canceled the bidding for a new operator, though the low bidder had already been announced to replace GTech. The commissioners also halted the financial audit, ended the political payola investigation and gave the contract back to GTech.
Why did the Texas government work so hard at saving GTechs license? A letter to the U.S. Justice Department I have obtained a copy provides some fascinating details. The writer points to one Ben Barnes, a lobbyist to whom GTech paid fees of $23 million. Way back in 1968, according to the whistleblower, an aide to Barnes then lieutenant governor of the Lone Star State quietly suggested to Air Guard chief Brig. Gen. James Rose that he find a safe spot in the Guard for Congressman George Bushs son.
Whether the Bushes used their influence to get young George out of serving in Vietnam was a big issue during George Jr.s neck-and-neck race for governor against Ann Richards in 1994. Bushs opponents, however, did not know of Barness offices contact with General Rose, so the story died.
The letter ties Barness knowledge of Governor Bushs draft-dodging to GTechs exclusive deal with the state: Governor Bush . . . made a deal with Ben Barnes not to rebid [the GTech lottery contract] because Barnes could confirm that Bush had lied during the 94 campaign. During that campaign, Bush was asked if his father, then a member of Congress, had helped him get in the National Guard. Bush said 'no'...George Bush was placed ahead of thousands of young men, some of whom died in Viet Nam...Barnes agreed never to confirm the story and the governor talked to the chair of the lottery two days later, and she then agreed to support letting GTech keep the contract without a bid.
The whistleblower remained anonymous, but offered to come forward later to authorities. Fingering Barnes, a Democrat, as the man who put in the fix for the Bushes with the Air Guard seemed wildly implausible. The letter remained sealed and buried. No investigation followed, neither Barnes nor the letter writer were called by the Feds.
But then in 1998, Littwinthe discharged reform lottery directorfiled a suit charging that the millions GTech paid for lobbyists bought them contract protection. He subpoenaed Barnes. In 1999, facing a grilling under oath Barnes admitted in a sworn statement to the court, that it was indeed him who got George W. into the Air Guard.
Amazingly though, he claimed to have done this nice thing for young George without any contact, direct or indirect, from the Bushes. How Barnes knew he should make the fix without a request from the powerful Bush family remains a mystery, one of those combinations of telepathy and coincidence common to Texas politics.
Littwin asserted that other witnesses can verify that the cash bought the governors influence to save GTechs license. GTech responds irrefutably that it terminated its lobbying contract with Barnes before the 1997 dismissals of the lottery directorsbut not before the blackmailing alleged in the anonymous letter. And, although the company denies it maintained the financial connection to Barnes, GTechs chairman, Guy Snowden, was a partner in a big real estate venture with Barness wife. (In 1995, Snowden was forced to resign as chairman of GTech when a jury found he tried to bribe British billionaire Richard Branson.)
What did GTech get for their $23 million to Barnes, the man who saved Dubya from the war? Cant say. In November 1999, GTech paid a reported $300,000 to Littwin; in return, Littwin agreed to seal forever Barness five-hour deposition transcript about the Bush family influence on the lottery and the Air Guard.
Im not complaining, mind you. After all, the Bush family has given us the best democracy money can buy.
(From The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast. Copyright © Greg Palast 2002, 2003.)
Currently this story appears on Larry Flynt's web site
About Journalist Greg Palast
To add insult to injury, when G-Tech's contract came up for renewal
After the Dallas Morning News reported the deletion of this
One can't help but wonder who received contributions during the interim.
Also let's not forget. G-Tech is the one who "really" turned in
Noteworthy - During the April 13, 2000 Commissioners meeting,
The Commissioners didn't care - they had what they needed
This is why the Govenor recently signed HB3459. The law said that
They were afraid the people might object to which game Texas
Folks - boycott the Texas Lottery and our elected officials.
Think the above story is just sensationalism?
British tycoon wins case against US lottery boss (the founding
Definitely read "Corruption," "Evolution of Lottery Games"
The Real Kicker
Comments - E-mail Us