"In the corporate world, some things aren't exactly black and white when it comes to accounting procedures."
-- George W. Bush
The reluctance of Congressional Democratic leaders to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Bush may be frustrating. But there's an upside. For anyone seeking to file charges against Bush in lieu of impeachment, it relieves the urgency and buys time to make their case that much more airtight. Henry Waxman's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform alone is conducting 20 investigations.
We're also afforded the opportunity to arrange his crimes in chronological order, starting with the first. Remember Harken Energy Corporation and the charge that Bush used insider knowledge to make almost $850,000 selling his stock in the company?
Harken, on whose board Bush sat, was a Texas oil company engaging in oil and gas exploration, development and production. It's still in existence, but on June 6 it changed its name to HKN, Inc. It actually showed a profit at the end of the first quarter this year, as opposed to last. Yet it still felt compelled to announce a reverse stock split, which is considered either a gimmick to make a stock look more attractive to investors or a red flag that it's about to take a dive.
To refresh your memory, Harken's difficulties were more pronounced in 1990, when it was hoping for one last strike in Texas before the state was tapped out. As soon as Bush joined the board, another company came to its aid -- Harvard Management ("Harvard"). Why Harvard?
Not only had Bush obtained his MBA from Harvard, but a former Harken chairman of the board was also a Harvard alumni, while two Harvard Management Company officers owned substantial amounts of Harken stock. Besides, as a not-for-profit organization, Harvard had no shareholders to whom the principals need answer for questionable transactions.
As if that weren't enough, in November 1990, Harken formed an off-the-books partnership with Harvard in order to move debt and poorly performing assets off its books and onto those of Harvard. This helped disguise how much of a risk investing in Harken had become.