July 25, 2002 — Documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity show President George W. Bush met with the president and CEO of Harken Energy Corp. shortly before the controversial sale of the company's Aloha Petroleum subsidiary.
The sale of Aloha led to an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and restatement of earnings by the company. During a July 8 press conference, Bush was asked about his involvement in the sale and told reporters to look at the board of directors’ minutes.
The June 15, 1989 letter from Harken President and CEO Mikel D. Faulkner asks Bush to renew his consulting agreement and shows how involved Bush was with corporate strategy. Faulkner praised Bush for his “intuitive analysis” on “various acquisitions” and “operating decisions” at the board level.
The meeting took place 15 days before the effective date of the Aloha transaction.
In response to popular interest, the Center is posting more public documents regarding Harken. Among them, a 1989 letter from Harken’s lawyer asking Bush about a lost “Form 4”; a May 20, 1990 memo indicating the possibility Harken may not make payroll by June 15 of that year; and a letter from Representative John Dingell, D-Mich., to the SEC inquiring about Bush’s insider trading of Harken stock.
Letter shows Bush’s close involvement with the internal workings of the company.
Bush has been questioned about late filings of SEC forms. In this letter, Harken’s top lawyer asks for a missing “Form 4,” which was filed to document insider stock sales.
March 11, 1992 letter from Representative John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Commerce and Energy Committee to Richard Breeden, chairman of the SEC
Dingell asks the SEC about its investigation of Bush’s alleged insider trading and requests a confidential briefing by the SEC. The letter was referenced in a March 18 SEC memo. In comments to the press, Bush said “in the early 90s key members of Congress asked for relevant documents from the SEC on this case. They were given the documents. You’ve seen the relevant documents.” Staff from the subcommittee told the Center they were “unaware of any official subcommittee action taken subsequent to any briefing received.” We have also posted a letter by then-Senator Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, and a response from the SEC.
This internal memo shows graphically how difficult Harken’s financial situation was in the spring of 1990, shortly before Bush sold his stock. It is unknown from available documents whether Bush was sent a copy of the memo.