Saturday, May 14, 2005

Financial Assets of Bush, Cheney Disclosed
Financial Assets of Bush, Cheney Disclosed

By Deb Riechmann
Associated Press
Saturday, May 14, 2005; A08

A $14,000 shotgun, a $2,700 mountain bike and five fishing rods were among $26,346 in gifts President Bush accepted last year, according to his financial disclosure form, released yesterday, which also listed millions of dollars the president has invested in U.S. Treasury notes and certificates of deposit.

The annual disclosures required by law offered a glimpse into the president's and Vice President Cheney's wealth -- and what they gave each other for Christmas last year.

As might be appropriate for a second-in-command, Cheney spent more -- $170 more -- than Bush did on him. Cheney gave Bush a $595 clock that the president keeps on his desk in the Oval Office. Bush gave Cheney a $425 globe on a wooden stand.

But because federal ethics law allows them to list the values of their assets in ranges rather than precise numbers, it is difficult to discern whether the two are wealthier than they were a year ago.

The disclosure, for instance, said Bush's 1,583-acre ranch was worth between $1 million and $5 million. The president reported having at least $4.95 million in Treasury notes, $750,000 in certificates of deposit, and $217,000 in checking and money-market accounts. Bush owns the mineral rights valued at as much as $15,000 on property in Reeves County, Tex. He also owns a tree farm, which is not expected to have commercial sales until 2007, which has a value of just under $600,000.

Bush received the shotgun from Roy E. Weatherby Jr., head of a family-owned firearms firm based in Atascadero, Calif.

There is no limit on the cost of gifts a president can receive from a U.S. citizen, but federal law requires him to declare them if they are valued at $285 or more, White House deputy press secretary Dana M. Perino said. Multiple gifts from the same donor must be listed if their cumulative total exceeds the $285 limit. Gifts from foreign officials must be turned over to the National Archives on behalf of the American people.

The bike, helmets, gloves and other biking equipment were a gift from John Burke, president of Trek Bicycle Corp. in Waterloo, Wis. Former commerce secretary Donald L. Evans gave Bush a fishing rod, a shirt, three caps, a book, a sweater and fishing bait.

Bush received gold cuff links worth $650 from classical pianist Van Cliburn; a $400 cowboy hat from Mickey Foster of Austin; and two chairs from the 1949 Texas House chamber valued at $500 from Texas state Reps. Tony Goolsby (R) and Pete Laney (D), who used to be speaker.

Laura Bush accepted $400 in salad plates from Tricia Lott, wife of Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), and a $1,300 gold bracelet from the first couple's friends, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Bernstein of Riverdale, N.Y.

Cheney's disclosure showed he received 10 gifts. They included a $1,600 painting of a house on the Delaware River, a $400 hand-tooled fly-tying set in a carved wooden box, a dozen bottles of wine valued at $699, a $120 pen and a $350 silver apple. From the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, Cheney received a $350 hatchet -- with a pewter blade and carved wooden handle -- commemorating the Lewis and Clark expedition.