Caption? Mine might be: I just nominated my Mommy. I’m scared of my Mommy. I’m scared of Harriet Mommy too. I wasn’t kiddin’ about the pit bull part. My hind end still hurts! Me lookin’ awful gray lately. Me awful tired. Me want pillow.
“Stone cold” … “ate nails for breakfast” … mixed up with Ben Barnes, a former lobbyist to the state lottery, and who we remember from the “60 Minutes”-Dubya-Nat’l Guard scandal. (Philly Daily News, last week, discovered that Miers “managed” the Nat’l Guard scandal during “Bush’s Texas gubenatorial campaign in 1998 (when he was starting to eye the White House) [and] paid Miers $19,000 to run an internal pre-emptive probe of the potential scandal.”)
Ben Barnes to break silence on “60 Minutes”: The Republican campaign gets ready for shock waves, as the former Texas official who says he pulled strings to get George W. Bush into the Air National Guard finally goes public. (Salon, Sept. 1, 2004)
AUSTIN, Texas – Harriet Miers proved to be a tough, no-nonsense administrator during her five years heading the Texas Lottery Commission, firing two executive directors to stamp out scandal but leaving unexpectedly … One of those firings stirred up questions about whether political influence helped George W. Bush avoid active duty in Vietnam.
[Her nomination to the high court prompts] closer scrutiny of Miers’ years in Texas as a private attorney, a member of the Dallas City Council and chairwoman of the three-member commission that oversees the state’s lottery operations.
“Although she’s a small-framed woman, we all believed she came through the Marines and maybe ate nails for breakfast because she’s one tough cookie,” said Horace Taylor, a former lottery employee who worked for Miers.
Then-Gov. George W. Bush appointed Miers to a six-year-term on the commission shortly after he was elected governor in 1994. After she’d been on the job 18 months, news surfaced that the lottery director’s boyfriend had been employed as a consultant for GTECH, the lottery’s main contractor.
The Miers-led commission fired the director, Nora Linares, in January 1997, … Linares filed suit against the commission but later dropped that lawsuit and instead sued GTECH. An agreement ending the dispute with the commission exonerated Linares…
It was [also] a lawsuit… [that] helped to ignite questions about whether Bush used political influence to avoid active duty during the Vietnam War. ….
[It was] suggested that former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes … a lobbyist for GTECH until January 1997, helped the company keep its state contract to run the lottery in exchange for keeping silent about how he had helped Bush get into the National Guard in the late 1960s. […]
Miers resigned as lottery commission chairman in 2000, a year early …
More from Greg Palast below:
From Greg Palast’s “George Wins the Lottery,” on July 9, 2003:
Follow the money. It’s 1997. Top-gun George Jr. is governor and GTech is in deep doo-doo with Texas lottery regulators. Texas is the nation’s biggest, most lucrative lottery and GTech was about to lose its contract, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The state’s lottery director was sacked following revelations that GTech had put the director’s boyfriend on the company payroll while he was under indictment for bribery. A new clean-hands director, Lawrence Littwin, ordered an audit, terminated GTech’s contract and put it out for rebid. Littwin also launched an investigation into GTech’s 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 GTech’s 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 Bush’s 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. Bush’s opponents, however, did not know of Barnes’s office’s contact with General Rose, so the story died.
The letter ties Barnes’s knowledge of Governor Bush’s draft-dodging to GTech’s exclusive deal with the state: …
READ ALL: George Wins the Lottery