The recent comments attributed to David Rubenstein at Carlyle Group suggest that he has not yet, and may never, master elite code talk. He may be close to them, but as long as he does not fully understand code talk, he is a tool and nothing more.
A perfect example of code talk comes from a true master insider, George H.W. Bush, when his son, Neil, was caught red handed in the middle of the S&L crisis as a director of Sliverado Bank.
Did Bush lay out his cards and call in his operatives and say pull some strings, get my son out of this investigation (Remember Bush was president at the time.) No. Bush is too smooth. In his published collection of letters, All The Best, George Bush, he shows us how the heat is delicately taken off Neil. On page 449, there is this letter to Thomas Ludlow Ashley.
Ashley is a Yale University grad, and member of the secret society Skull and Bones along with Bush. Here's the letter:
The Honorable Thomas Ludlow Ashley
Association of Bank Holding Companies
Washington, D.C. 20005
Thank you for your good memo December 8th.
I would appreciate any help you can give Neil. He tells me he never had any insider dealings. He got off the Board early--long before I was elected President. The Denver paper apparently ran a very nice editorial about him on that. He is an outside director, and thus I guess has liability, but I can't believe his name would appear in the paper if it was Jones not Bush. In any event, I know that the guy is totally honest. I saw him in Denver and I think he is worried about the publicity and the "shame". I tell him not to worry about that but any advice you can give as this matter unfolds would be greatly appreciated by me. If it turns out there has been some marginal call, or he has done something wrong, needless to say there will be no intervention from his dad. But, I'm quite confident this is not true...
Notice how smooth. No talk about getting Ashley anything for taking care of the matter. The nice touch about if Neil "has done something wrong", but the clear finish, he didn't.
The US Office of Thrift Supervision investigated Silverado's failure and determined that Bush had engaged in numerous "breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest." But Neil was not indicted on criminal charges, a civil action was brought against him and the other Silverado directors. It was eventually settled out of court, with Bush paying $50,000 as part of the settlement.
Ashley had done his job.
Bush has used Ashley in other tight situations. How does Ashley get paid for his "services"? Who really knows? But I can take a guess. Ashely is currently a director of Layalina Productions, Inc., which produces Arabic-language television programming for broadcast in the Arab Middle East.
He is also a director of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.
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