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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Bush, Cheney File Financial Disclosure Forms

Aired May 16, 2003 - 20:14   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tickets to a Rolling Stones concert end up as a topic of discussion during a White House news briefing, believe it or not. The tickets were just some of the items listed on President Bush's latest financial disclosure form. For more on that, we're going to bring in White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux. She is live at this hour from Washington. Suzanne, hello.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Daryn. Well, it's really just a snapshot of the president's financial picture. But we do learn quite a bit. We know that most of his money is in government bonds. We also know that he has trust funds for his daughters that includes a variety of stocks, including Intel, as well as Disney, Procter & Gamble, among others. Microsoft as well.

And also, we understand and we learn the perks of what it is to be president, including tickets to see the Rolling Stones.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX (voice-over): President Bush is worth anywhere from $8 million to nearly $22 million. His biggest asset, his Texas ranch, valued as high as $5 million. Vice President Dick Cheney is worth anywhere from $19 million to $86 million. Much of his health accumulated when he was CEO of energy giant Halliburton. The two leaders filed their financial disclosures with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics Thursday, as required by federal law.

CARL ANTHONY, AUTHOR, "AMERICA'S FIRST FAMILIES": The laws dictating the value of gifts that a president can or cannot accept help not only the country in terms of making sure there's no undue influence from corporate interests, but also it protects the president and his family from any charges of conflict of interest.

MALVEAUX: The law requires reporting gifts accepted by a single donor worth more than $285.

(MUSIC)

MALVEAUX: On Mr. Bush's list, tickets to the Rolling Stones; $2,533 worth, for his daughter Jenna. Six of the eight tickets were donated by Sony (UNINTELLIGIBLE) creator Tommy Mottola, who just Thursday shared the stage with the president at a memorial event.

The president's most expensive items sit on his Crawford ranch, a dock and boat, valued at $5,728. Mr. Bush also accepted a cowboy hat worth $1,000, an $823 honorary membership at the Yale Club in New York City, $359 cooking pit, and for the avid runner, three pairs of athletic shoes valued at $765.

The president's total, more than $14,000.

For Mr. Cheney, he accepted more than $17,000 in gifts, including a $1,500 fishing reel, $1,000 handmade bamboo fly rod, $772 case of Ferrari Carano wine, and at $300 two Bolo ties.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Daryn, I've been speaking with presidential historians, who say that presidents as well as their staff have been accepting gifts since the very beginning. I want to give you a sampling of some of those -- tractors, chainsaws, gold fish, turkeys, gowns, and even possums among them. But as you know, there are federal guidelines that essentially say what the president can and cannot keep and who he can get those gifts from.

But for the most part, it is largely the president's discretion -- Daryn.

KAGAN: So I guess running shoes and possums are OK under federal guidelines.

Hey, Suzanne, if you could help me with some math here. I am just looking at some numbers, if you can just kind of make sense of them. The president has reported assets of between $8.8 million and $21.9 million. That's a big, wide range. How do you explain the big gap there?

MALVEAUX: It's a very good point, Daryn, because if you actually take a look at the disclosure forms, you'll see that for each of the items that they list, there's a range. They can say, well, I believe this is worth $5,000 all the way up to $10,000. So if you take all that, you add it together, you come up with a broad range of figures there.

The reason for that is that essentially, this form is to show whether or not there's a conflict of interest to essentially have an open process in all of this, not necessarily to get the exact figures of what the president owns, his assets, or what the vice president owns. They say that's not as important. They just want a general idea. They really are trying to get at, what does he own in terms of does he have a conflict of interest?

KAGAN: Got it. Interesting peek inside the assets of both the president and vice president. Suzanne Malveaux at the White House, thank you.

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