By: John LeBoutillier

In 2006 at my 30th Harvard Reunion, during a casual conversation one evening, a classmate told me about his years at Andover. Out of the blue he told me this story:

Jeb Bush and one other fellow student back then ran an illegal drug and liquor distributorship on the Andover campus. When the heat started coming down, Bush ratted out the partner to the school authorities and saved his own skin.  Jeb got away with it, was never caught, never punished, graduated unscathed and went on to the University of Texas at Austin.

To this day no one outside the Andover community even knows about this illegal activity. The media is apparently unaware of it. Through three statewide campaigns for governor of Florida, it never came up.

In 2012 at another Harvard event, this same Andover alumnus brought over another one of his Andover classmates – and one of our Harvard ’76 classmates and a staunch Republican – to speak to me about the Jeb Bush matter. This second alumnus confirmed the story – and added in this detail: “I never knew why Jeb walked around Andover with his jaw hanging open until someone told me he was stoned all the time.”

Forty years later does this matter? Does what someone did in high school matter if they run for president?

In fact, yes.

In the summer of 2012, the WASHINGTON POST ran a huge story on Mitt Romney’s behavior at the Cranbrook School in Michigan, with the focus on an alleged incident where Romney and some other boys cut off the blond bangs of a classmate.

If that event is worthy of the front page of the WASHINGTON POST, then the Jeb Bush Illegal Drug and Liquor Distributorship is certainly something the voters – especially GOP primary voters – have a right to know before they begin to choose a 2016 candidate.

Will the media and the press look into this? Will they do the legwork necessary to corroborate this story of illegality? Will they ask Jeb if it is true? If he admits to it will that help – or hurt – his political chances? Other pols have admitted drug use – including Barack Obama. But using and selling are two different things. And so is ratting out your partner in crime to save your own skin.

If Jeb denies it, will the media pursue the truth?

Will the media and press try to find out if the Bush Family intervened with the Andover authorities to keep Jeb from being expelled?  

For decades the Bush Family PR Machine has touted the personal values and record of Jeb’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, from his WWII days through a myriad of professional positions and personal ups-and-downs. “Character,” we’re told, is something the Bush Family is proud of. So is their belief in “family values.”

Following the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal, we were told in the 2000 campaign that then-candidate Governor George W. Bush – known as Junior inside the Bush Family - would bring “honor and dignity” back to the Oval Office.  Somehow this same Bush PR Machine was able to keep the lid on Junior’s DUI arrest in Maine back in the 1970’s. That revelation  - coming in the last week of the 2000 campaign – cost Bush 25% of his vote and led to the split verdict with Vice President Gore winning the popular vote and Bush edging him in the Electoral College.

So far Jeb Bush has escaped scrutiny on the “character” issues.
For the sake of the country – and the GOP and the conservative movement – the truth about Jeb’s behavior at Andover needs to be exposed and examined before GOP primary voters invest their faith and belief in him.

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Former US Rep. John LeBoutillier is co-host of CAMPAIGN CONFIDENTIAL, airing live every Monday at 2 PM ET on  He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

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Published in the February 3, 2013 issue of  Ether Zone.
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