Aug 26, 2002
Bill Simon, Jr., a wealthy businessman and the son of former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, William E. Simon, is running for governor of the state of California. Like other wealthy businessmen who have run for political office, Simon claims that he will "clean up" the political system by running it "like a business."
In early August, a Los Angeles civil trial gave a glimpse into what this means. The jury found that Simon's company had defrauded a business partner, P. Edward Hindelang. The jury ordered that the Simon company pay Hindelang 78 million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.
But the story doesn't end here – it seems that Simon's business partner is a convicted drug trafficker. In the early 1980s, he had pled guilty to smuggling over half a million pounds of marijuana from Colombia into the U.S., served three years in federal prison and paid a 50 million dollar fine.
None of this seemed to bother President Bush, who came to California at the end of August to raise money for Simon's campaign. As they say, birds of a feather flock together.