Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bushes' Assets May Top $20 Million; Cheneys', $94 Million
Bushes' Assets May Top $20 Million; Cheneys', $94 Million
By Brendan Murray
Bloomberg News

President Bush and his wife, Laura, had assets valued between $7.2 million and $20.9 million last year, up from as much as $18.1 million a year earlier, annual disclosure forms released last night showed.

Bush, who says his economic policies have helped Americans increase their wealth, is still making up ground from the start of his first term in 2001, when he and his wife reported assets of as much as $24 million.

Vice President Cheney disclosed a portfolio worth as much as $94.6 million in 2005.

Most of the Bushes' wealth was in real estate and a diversified trust, which combined were worth as much as $10 million, the 18-page statement showed. Much of the rest of their holdings were U.S. Treasury notes and certificates of deposit.

The 1,583-acre Bush ranch near Crawford, Tex., was estimated to be worth between $1 million and $5 million, the same range given in last year's filing. Bush also disclosed a health savings account worth as much as $15,000 and a 401(k) retirement plan from his days as Texas governor valued at as much as $250,000.

Bush, 59, reported receiving gifts including a $400 pair of binoculars from Cheney and his wife, Lynne; an Apple Computer Inc. iPod music player and a book titled "The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language," written by Eugene H. Peterson, from U2 lead singer Bono; and a chain saw, with accessories, from Home Depot Inc. President Robert Nardelli.

Bush paid $187,768 in taxes on taxable income last year of $618,694, according to returns the White House released April 14. The president's salary last year was $400,000.

Bush made his fortune as part owner of the Texas Rangers major league baseball team. His initial investment of $530,000 in 1989 soared to almost $15 million when he sold his share of the team to venture capitalist Tom Hicks in 1998.

The biggest assets Cheney reported for last year were mutual fund holdings in the American Century Investments International Bond Fund and the Vanguard Group's Short-Term Tax-Exempt Fund Admiral Shares, each valued at between $5 million and $25 million.

The Cheneys reported owing $529,636 on taxable income of $1,961,157 in 2005, according to their tax return, released last month. The couple's total income in 2005 was $8.8 million, largely as a result of stock options Cheney, 65, received before stepping down as chairman of Houston-based Halliburton Co., the world's largest oil-field services company, to run for vice president in 2000.

For Christmas, Bush gave Cheney a $338 hammock on a steel stand.