What's an ex-president without a fancy presidential library? And the good ones don't come cheap — the Clinton Library cost $165 million. So it stands to reason, George W. Bush might be looking to fundraise for his — by selling time with senior officials of the Bush Administration — and maybe an endorsement from Bush himself.
According to an undercover tape of Stephen Payne, a top fundraiser and member of the homeland security advisory council, all you need is $750,000 and you’ve got a meeting with Dick Cheney. But that’s not all. If you really ante up, you can meet with George W. Bush himself and walk away with an endorsement in your pocket where your money used to be.
This pay-to-play plot was revealed in an undercover investigation by the London Sunday Times. To see how the Bush endorsement is for sale,
Payne was caught on tape discussing the details to get an exiled Central Asian leader, face time with President Bush and as an added bonus, an endorsement from Bush to help with his election. In the video, you can see Payne working out the meet-up strategy as to how they can explain away the leader's human rights abuses with the excuse of, “Well, at least he’s not so and so.”
The price tag is fairly straightforward. For between $600,000 and $750,000 you can definitely meet National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, either Condoleezza Rice or Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and possibly Cheney. Of this, a third will go to the construction of the Bush Library to commemorate his legacy in office. Unlike campaign donations, library gifts don't have to be disclosed — and there are no restrictions on funds from foreigners. And the other two-thirds? It's presumed that a chunk would go to Payne’s lobbying company, Worldwide Strategic Partners — but who else?
Is this merely a case of political tit-for-tat, or startling proof that the leader of the free world is for sale?