Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmmm

George P. Bush got an undisclosed bank loan from a major donor to buy a 'secret mansion' in Austin

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush bought a $1.5 million mansion in a tony Austin enclave with an $850,000 loan from a bank owned by a major donor who recently employed his wife, Amanda Bush — and "for all practical purposes, it is a secret mansion," reports Jay Root at The Texas Tribune. The 4,000-square-foot gated house is legally owned by a family trust that doesn't include the Bush name, and neither the trust nor the $850,000 loan were disclosed on the personal financial statements Bush has to file to run for office in Texas. George P. Bush is Jeb Bush's eldest son and apparently the lone member of the Bush clan who unabashedly supports President Trump.

George and Amanda Bush are the creators and the beneficiaries of the trust, Bush's campaign said. Under Texas ethics laws, candidates have to disclose a "beneficial interest" in real estate and note any loans of more than $1,000, but the Texas Ethics Commission said it hasn't dealt yet with the Bush "secret mansion" scenario. Bush political director Ash Wright told the Tribune that its reporting is "another absurd fake news story from the liberal media" and explained that "for security reasons, the commissioner used a trust to buy the house to protect his family's address from being publicly listed," citing "death threats."

Root noted that people with military backgrounds like Bush can request that their names be left off county tax rolls by just checking a box on a simple form — which the Bushes did for a rental property, even though the exemption is, by law, only available for a home address. "After the Tribune inquired under freedom of information laws why the rental property's ownership had been deemed confidential," Root says, "the appraisal district abruptly informed Amanda Bush on Feb. 7 that it would rescind the exemption she had applied for — and got — a little over two years ago."