You’re going to be hearing rather a lot this weekend from CBS “NEWS” about Ken Barnes and some rather interesting charges he’s going to try to bring to the table.
However, Barnes’ credibility is rather like Kitty Kelley’s…. Non-existant. SOme research from the GOP shows:

Who Is Ben Barnes?



A Deep-Pocketed Kerry Partisan Who Can’t Keep His Stories Straight

Barnes Under Oath

Under Oath, Barnes Testified He Had No Contact With Bush Family Concerning National Guard.  “Ben Barnes, then the speaker of the Texas House, said in 1999 that Sidney Adger, a Houston businessman and longtime friend of the Bush family whose son also won a slot in the 147th, had asked him to help get Mr. Bush into the Guard. Mr. Barnes, who acknowledged a role only after he was questioned under oath, also said that he had spoken to the head of the Texas Air National Guard on Mr. Bush’s behalf, but had no contact with anyone in the Bush family.  And there is no direct evidence that Mr. Bush’s family pulled strings to get him into the 147th. Mr. Bush is firmly on record denying it, as is the commander of the unit, and there is no paper trail showing any influence by the Bush family.”  (David Barstow, “In Haze Of Guard Records, A Bit Of Clarity,” The New York Times, 2/15/04)

Barnes Said Reports He Helped Bush At His Father’s Urging Were “False.” “Former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes denied a magazine report Thursday that he helped George W. Bush get a place in the Texas Air National Guard at the urging of Bush’s father.  Bush, the Republican presidential front-runner, has repeatedly denied that he received preferential treatment in being accepted into the Guard during the Vietnam War. … ‘I never spoke to Congressman Bush about his son,’ Barnes said Thursday. ‘The story is false.'”  (Renae Merle, “Barnes Denies Report That He Helped Bush Into The National Guard,” The Associated Press, 7/15/99)

In Fall Of 1999, Barnes Said Bush Family Never Asked To Get President Bush Into National Guard.  “Mr. Bush has consistently said he never requested special treatment, though Ben Barnes, who was speaker of the Texas House in 1968, said in 1999 that he had been asked by a Houston businessman — not by the Bush family — to recommend Mr. Bush for a pilot’s slot, and that he had done so.”  (David M. Halbfinger, “Three Decades Later, Vietnam Remains A Hot Issue,” The New York Times, 8/29/04)

But Now, Barnes’ Story “Subject To Change”

Today, Barnes Claims He Is “Ashamed” He Got President Bush Into Texas Air National Guard.  “Former Texas House Speaker Ben Barnes said he is ‘more ashamed at myself than I’ve ever been’ because he helped President Bush and the sons of other wealthy families get into the Texas National Guard so they could avoid serving in Vietnam.  ‘I got a young man named George W. Bush into the National Guard … and I’m not necessarily proud of that, but I did it,’ Barnes, a Democrat, said in a video clip recorded May 27 before a group of John Kerry supporters in Austin.  Barnes, who was House speaker when Bush entered the Guard, later became lieutenant governor.”  (Bobby Ross Jr., “Former Lawmaker Says He Got Bush Into The Texas Guard,” The Associated Press, 8/28/04)

Yet, According To February 2004 New York Times Article, Barnes’ Story “Was Subject To Change And There Were No Documents To Support His Claims.” “Local reporters could coax one former Democratic state official into admitting, off the record, that he had interceded on Mr. Bush’s behalf at the request of either a prominent Dallas businessman or George H. W. Bush, who was then a member of Congress. But the official’s story — the source was later revealed to be former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes — was subject to change and there were no documents to support his claims.”  (Mimi Swartz, “In Search Of The President’s Missing Years,” The New York Times, 2/27/04)

Barnes Is Kerry Fundraiser And Advisor

Ben Barnes Is Kerry Campaign Vice-Chair, Raising Over $100,000 For Campaign. (Kerry For President Website,, Accessed 9/4/04)

Barnes Considers John Kerry Close Personal Friend.  “Barnes, a government consultant with offices in Austin, Chicago and Washington, said: ‘I’m just an enthusiastic participant’ who considers as personal friends Corzine, Daschle and Kerry, whom he got to know during summer vacations in Nantucket.”  (W. Gardner Selby, “Texas’ Last ‘Old Lion’ Still On Prowl For Funds,” San Antonio Express-Texas, 7/30/04)        

“Texans For Kerry” Website Links To Barnes Video. (Texans For Kerry Website,, Accessed 9/7/04)

Barnes Is Considered “A Definite In” In Kerry Administration.  “[Barnes has] known Kerry since the 1980s. ‘I don’t know who’s going to be in and who’s going to be out’ of a possible Kerry administration, Barnes said. ‘But John Kerry has been sympathetic to Texas in the past. … I would expect him to listen to our problems if he’s in the White House.’ Barnes is a definite in, though he says he’ll keep working as a lobbyist based in Austin.”  (Jay Root, “Texas Democrats Are Waiting In The Wings,” Fort Worth Star Telegram, 7/31/04)

Barnes Owns Home Near Kerry’s In Nantucket.  “Now a lobbyist and consultant, Barnes has a house near Kerry’s in Nantucket, Mass., and committed to Kerry’s White House bid nearly three years ago on the grounds of the Nantucket Golf Club.”  (Jay Root, “Texas Democrats Are Waiting In The Wings,” Fort Worth Star Telegram, 7/31/04)

Barnes Is Kerry “Super-Bundler” Fundraiser. “Eleven [Kerry super-bundlers] are from Texas, including Dallas plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Baron and lobbyist Ben Barnes, a Lyndon Johnson protégé who served as lieutenant governor and is one of the national Democrat Party’s most prodigious fund-raisers.  ‘If someone had told me last quarter that John Kerry would have raised as much money as he’s been able to, I’d have said it couldn’t happen. But I’m seeing it happen,’ said Mr. Barnes, whose lobby clients have included American Airlines and the chemical giant Huntsman Corp.”  (Wayne Slater, “Vested Interests In Kerry Lawyers, Lobbyists Top Donors List,” Dallas Morning News, 7/26/04)

Opening Night Of Democratic Convention In Boston, “Kerry Adviser And Veteran Political Fund-Raiser”Barnes Hosted Party For Convention-Goers.  “On the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, more than 250 well-dressed people strayed from the convention, enjoying bubbly drinks and appetizers such as tablespoon-sized shrimp salads at a party hosted by former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes. Barnes, a Kerry adviser and veteran political fund-raiser, said he scheduled his event to remind potential donors about the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, which seeks to help Democrats recapture a majority in the U.S. Senate, where the GOP has a two-vote majority.”  (W. Gardner Selby, “Texas’ Last ‘Old Lion’ Still On Prowl For Funds,” San Antonio Express-Texas, 7/30/04)       

In October 2003, Barnes Hosted Fundraiser For John Kerry.  “Democratic presidential contender John Kerry, counting on the Texas-Massachusetts connection that played better in the 1960s than it did in the 1980s, made three fund-raising stops in Texas on Wednesday as he campaigned toward primary season.  Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, spoke to about 60 supporters at the Four Seasons Hotel here between stops in Dallas and Houston….In introducing Kerry here, former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes likened him to Kennedy.  ‘He possesses the talent, the courage, the experience and the depth that will make him, as Jack Kennedy was in 1961, a president that has the determination to lead this country,’ Barnes said.”  (Ken Herman, “Kerry Plays Up Texas’ Link To His Home State,” Austin American-Statesman, 10/2/03)

Barnes Is A Partisan Democrat

Daschle Called Barnes “The Fifty-First Democratic Senator.”  “Yet here he is in the rarefied atmosphere of big power and big-time politics — one of the chief financial and strategic architects of the Democratic resurgence to parity (and subsequently control) in the Senate. Majority leader Tom Daschle has called him ‘the fifty-first Democratic senator.'”  (Paul Burka, “So What If He Never Got To Be Governor Or President?” Texas Monthly, 9/01)

Barnes Attended Clinton Coffee Intended To Raise $500,000. “Newly released White House documents show that President Clinton’s political operatives expected to raise $500,000 from a White House coffee for wealthy Texans in the summer, calling into question Clinton’s assertion that ‘no price tag was placed’ on White House events.  In a July 14 memo to White House officials, campaign Chairman Peter Knight suggested adding the Texas coffee klatch to Clinton’s schedule as part of an effort to raise $7.8 million in the state.  Knight predicted that the event would generate $500,000 in political contributions.  About 20 Texans, including former Gov. Dolph Briscoe, Land Commissioner Garry Mauro and former Lt.  Gov. Ben Barnes, attended the Aug. 23 get-together with the president.”  (Ron Hutcheson, “Clinton’s Fund-Raising Assertion Questioned,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2/27/97)

In 1996, Barnes Endorsed Clinton/Gore ’96.  (Lisa R. Davis, “CEOs And Business Leaders Endorse President Clinton,” Press Release, 10/8/96)

Ben Barnes Has Donated At Least $380,750 To Democratic Candidates And Campaign Bodies Including: 

ü      John Kerry For President Inc.

ü      Kerry Committee

ü      Kerry-Edwards 2004 Inc. General Election Legal And Accounting Compliance Fund

ü      A Lot Of People Supporting Tom Daschle Inc.

ü      Bob Graham For President Inc.

ü      Cantwell 2006

ü      Citizens For Biden

ü      Citizens For Sarbanes

ü      Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

ü      Democratic National Committee

ü      Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

ü      Evan Bayh Committee

ü      Friends Of Byron Dorgan

ü      Friends Of Dick Durbin Committee

ü      Friends Of Max Cleland For The US Senate Inc.

ü      Friends Of Schumer

ü      Friends Of Harry Reid

ü      Friends Of Hillary

ü      Friends Of Patrick J Kennedy Inc.

ü      Friends Of Senator Carl Levin

ü      Gephardt For President Inc.

ü      Gore 2000 Inc.

ü      Hillary Rodham Clinton For US Senate Committee Inc.

ü      Joe Lieberman For President Inc.

ü      Kennedy For Senate 2006

ü      Leahy For U.S. Senator Committee

ü      People For Patty Murray US Senate Campaign

ü      Stabenow For US Senate

ü      Tony Knowles For US Senate (Political Money Line Website,, Accessed 9/8/04)

Barnes’ Ethical Mishaps

Sharpstown Bank Scandal In 1971 Ended Barnes’ Political Career. “The Sharpstown Scandal:  This scandal involved quick-profit stock sales for lawmakers and state officials in 1971-72. Houston financier Frank Sharp arranged the stock loans from his Sharpstown State Bank, purportedly to grease the passage of two banking bills.  Two dozen former and sitting officials were accused, and others suffered by association. House Speaker Gus Mutscher and another legislator were convicted of conspiring to accept a bribe. Gov. Preston Smith lost the governorship after his profit was disclosed.  Half the Texas House was voted out of office or didn’t seek re-election. And Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, a rising political star, was caught in the housecleaning when he tried to win the governor’s seat. LBJ had even predicted that Barnes would make it to the White House.”  (Carolyn Barta, “Texas Has Left A Lasting Mark In The World Of Politics,” The Dallas Morning News, 3/4/99)

In 1998, Barnes Was Accused Of Funneling $500,000 To Former Sales Manager Of Corporation Running Texas Lottery.  “The former national sales manager for Gtech Holdings Corp., which operates the Texas lottery, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison Thursday for stealing from the company. …His sentencing two years after his conviction was delayed by a controversy over information released by prosecutors linking him and former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes to a similar kickback scheme.  In a sentencing memo in the Smith case, New Jersey prosecutors alleged that Mr. Barnes, then Gtech’s chief Texas lobbyist, funneled $500,000 to Mr. Smith.  The memo containing the allegations was posted on the Internet.  Mr. Barnes denied that he had done anything wrong, and Judge Politan ordered prosecutors to apologize. In August, they acknowledged that they had disclosed secret information.  Mr. Barnes said at the time that the money he gave Mr. Smith was for work not connected to the lottery.  Mr. Barnes has never been charged with wrongdoing in connection with the allegation.  Gtech bought out Mr. Barnes’ contract for $23 million after Texas lottery commissioners questioned Gtech business practices.”  (George Kuempel, “Ex-Official For Gtech Sentenced,” The Dallas Morning News, 10/9/98)

Investment Partnership With John Connally Went Bust In 1988 After Connally And Barnes Racked Up $200 Million In Debt. “He joined with his protégé Ben Barnes, the former lieutenant governor of Texas, to embark on the business of building offices and condominiums and shopping malls, borrowing millions of dollars on the strength of his famous name, arguably the most famous in the state.  At the time, Connally’s real estate and energy investments appeared to be solid. Oil was selling for $33 a barrel and seemed destined to go higher. Texas was on a roll and John Connally was riding the crest of an economic surge that was making millionaires overnight.  But Connally’s timing was off. The decline of Texas and the rest of the energy belt began in 1982, just about the time he and Barnes began their spending and borrowing spree in earnest, taking the big chances.  Files for Bankruptcy.  Five years later, after a fruitless struggle for economic survival, Connally admitted that betting big had been a mistake. On July 31 of last year, he filed for bankruptcy. At the time, he and Barnes owed creditors more than $200 million.” (J. Michael Kennedy, “Symbol Of Troubled Texas,” Los Angeles Times, 1/22/88)