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Jeb Bush’s emails detail communications with top donors

March 12, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — Among the many thousands of emails Jeb Bush received as Florida governor are a string of notes from campaign donors asking for favors and making suggestions.

Invariably, Bush responded quickly. Sometimes, he appointed a person a donor had recommended for a position. Other times, he rejected advice about a piece of legislation.

It’s an insight into Bush’s work as governor that’s possible only because his emails are open for review, something not yet available for those sent and received by Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state.

Like Clinton, Bush is widely expected to run for president in the 2016 elections. Both used a personal email address and private server. But, positioning himself as a transparent candidate if he runs for the Republican nomination, he has posted online more than 275,000 emails from his two terms in office.

A review by the Associated Press of Bush’s emails found that prominent donors to Bush and his family regularly urged him to appoint certain candidates for judgeships, public boards and other committees.

Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said it was not uncommon for the public to make such suggestions to Bush and the recommendations were routed “through appropriate channels.”

Did fundraisers carry special influence? “No. Absolutely not,” Campbell said. She did not respond to AP’s questions about specific emails involving two fundraisers, but one of them, Mark Guzzetta, said Bush denied his requests just as frequently as he granted them.

Bush freely gave out his personal email address during his time in office and often received notes of inquiry, complaint and thanks. Last month, Bush put the emails he said were related to his work in state government on a website, a move he and his aides said was designed to show his administration was open and in touch with constituents.

Bush was required by Florida’s notably strong public records law to provide to the state all correspondence related to state government after he left office, and those emails were publicly available before Bush’s created his website.

Like Clinton, Bush decided which messages were considered personal and not subject to disclosure. In 2007, he said he received and sent about 550,000 emails via his personal address, meaning a significant number remain private.


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