Back in 1991, shortly after the depleted uranium-flaked dust had settled some from the first Gulf War, there was a minor tempest in the press over influence peddling by members of President George H. W. Bush’s family, including his son Neil and his brother Prescott, Jr. Both Neil and Prescott, neither of whom had proven to be exceptionally talented businessmen, had made millions by flagrantly trading on their relationship to the president.
Seeking to distinguish himself from his more predatory relatives, William Henry Trotter Bush, the younger brother of Bush Sr. and an investment banker in St. Louis, gave an interview to disclaim any profiteering on his own part. Indeed, he sounded downright grumpy, as if his older brother hadn’t done enough to steer juicy government deals his way.
“Being the brother of George Bush isn’t a financial windfall by any stretch of the imagination,” huffed William H.T. Bush.
Well, perhaps being the brother of the president didn’t generate as much business as he hoped, but having the good fortune to be the uncle of the president certainly appears to have padded the pockets of the man endearingly known to George W. Bush as “Uncle Bucky.”
A few months before his selection as president, Bush’s Uncle Bucky quietly joined the board of a small and struggling St. Louis defense company called Engineered Support Systems, Incorporated (ESSI). Since Bush joined the team, ESSI’s fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the better. This once obscure outfit is now one of the top Pentagon contractors. Next year its revenues will top $1 billion, nearly all of it derived from defense contracts with the Pentagon or with foreign militaries financed by US aid and loan guarantees. Even sweeter, most of these contracts have been awarded in no bid, sole source deals.
True to form, Uncle Bucky claims that ESSI’s amazing transformation has nothing to do with him or his nephew, the president.
“I don’t make any calls to the 202 (DC) Area Code,” Bush sneered to the Los Angeles Times.
Uncle Buck’s characteristic modesty was swiftly undercut by statements made by top executives at ESSI,