Sweet Deal for Asa Hutchinson


Dennis Hastert is not the only government official running into trouble with less-than-revealing personal financial disclosure reports – though don’t miss Bill Allison’s report if you haven’t already seen it. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported last week that former Congressman and Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson – running these days for Governor of Arkansas – has come under fire for failing to report a million-dollar investment windfall.

Hutchinson called the omission “an oversight.” If so, it’s a doozy, and the paper gives a thorough rundown. Here’s the nub of it:

Asa Hutchinson, the Republican candidate for governor, has turned $2,800 into $1 million as a founding shareholder in a company that went public with no revenues, products or employees — but with a stock offering that promised lavish profits for insiders risking tiny sums.

As a “blank-check” company, Fortress America Acquisition Corp.’s only business plan was to find and buy an unspecified company doing business in some aspect of homeland security.

The paper goes on to relate the investment in great detail. Hutchinson, it turns out, was not the only high government official with an inside seat.

The six founding shareholders in Fortress America include former U. S. Rep. Tom McMillen of Maryland, former U. S. Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma, and a private-equity firm that counts former CIA Director James Woolsey among its partners.

Kudos and thanks to Facing South, the blog of the Institute for Southern Studies, for drawing attention to the story. And of course to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for digging it up.