Bush’s Swiss Man for McCain

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has made a big catch. His new chief fundraiser is Mercer Reynolds, a financier from Ohio and former Ambassador to Switzerland. In 2004, Reynolds helped George W. Bush raise a record 273 million dollar for his re-election campaign. Reynolds had already raised substantial amounts of money for Bush’s 2000 campaign.

He will be a tremendous asset for McCain. Reynolds knows every rich Bush supporter and is extremely well connected within the wealthy Republican establishment.

What is not well known: Mercer Reynolds is the man who literally made George W. Bush.

In 1984, the financier bought Bush’s ailing company Arbusto Energy. It saved the young oilman from bankruptcy. Reynolds hired Bush as president of his own oil company, Spectrum 7 for an annual salary of $75’000.

A couple of years later Reynolds served Bush the possibility to buy the Texas Rangers, a baseball team. The price tag for his share: $600’000. Bush connections – his father was U.S. president – helped to convince the city of Arlington, Texas, to build a new stadium with taxpayer’s money. The stadium increased the value of the team tremendously. Bush later sold his share in the Rangers for a whooping $16 million.

Once in the White House Bush would not forget his mentor. In 2001, he named Reynolds Ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein. In 2003 Reynolds stepped down to push Bush’s re-election effort.

Last week, Reynolds was inaugurated as the new chairman of the American Swiss Foundation. He won’t have much time for his new job.