Friday, December 12, 2003

Here's a report that points out just who might benefit from the drug discount cards in the Medicare bill -- David Halbert, a friend of George W. Bush's since 1986. Halbert happens to be the CEO of AdvancePCS, one of the biggest guns in the pharmaceutical benefit management field. Bush was an early investor in the company (he reported a $1 million capital gain when cashed out in 1996); Halbert, in turn was an early investor in -- er, contributor to -- candidate Bush.

The report, in turn, cites this story, by Newsday's Knut Royce (writing for The Public i). It's complicated, but if you make your way through it, you'll see that Bush sold Harken Energy stock in 1990 at a nice profit just before Harken collapsed -- which you probably knew -- and Halbert's energy business, Advance Petroleum Marketing, after agreeing to buy a failing division of Harken from a partnership of Harken insiders, got much more favorable terms when Harken was forced to renegotiate the deal. (Halbert's gain was Harken's loss -- the very loss that helped send Harken's stock price plummeting to $2.37 a share weeks after Bush sold his Harken stock for $4 a share.)

(Thanks to Nick Confessore at Tapped for spotting this.)

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