I’m intrigued by the people put into places of influence, wondering who they are and how they got there. More importantly, what  their background might portend for the program they’re heading up. Hutchinson, the man Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, tapped to lead its National School Shield Program, has an interesting background.

He served almost three terms representing the 3rd District in Arkansas, short his third term when he was appointed to be the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). While in the House he voted with the Republican Party 96 percent of the time. He served as one of the prosecutors of Bill Clinton’s and yet when the confirmed his appointment one of those most opposed to Clinton’s impeachment, Rep John Conyers (R-Mi.), made a special trip over to attend the Senate’s Judiciary Committee’s hearing on Hutchinson not only to support him for the position but to come out strongly in supporting his nomination.

Following 9/11 President Bush moved him to head up the largest division in the Department of Homeland Security, the Border and Transportation Security Directorate with its 110,000(!) employees.

He left that position to run for governor of Arkansas which required him to file a personal financial disclosure form. Somehow he managed to forget a little $2,800 investment that he made into a startup company which had no business plan but lots of connections to the defense and homeland security industry. When the company went public, his 200,000 shares were now worth $1 million. This is from NWA Online out of Fayetteville, Arkansas, which story has been removed from the website for some reason. I found it elsewhere:

Asa Hutchinson, the Republican candidate for governor [of Arkansas], 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. In the wake of an initial public offering that raised $42 million, Fortress America announced its acquisition Tuesday.

I don’t know about you but if I had invested $2,800 to buy 200,000 shares of a company that went public and made me a millionaire, I certainly would remember. But not Hutchinson:

…he overlooked his Fortress America holdings on the financial-disclosure form he is required to file as a gubernatorial candidate. On the form, filed May 4, Hutchinson listed his stock and options in two other companies, and even disclosed bank and credit-union accounts with balances under $ 1,000. He said he forgot to list his 200,000 shares in Fortress America.

“Just totally an oversight,” Hutchinson said Tuesday.

I just find it interesting that the NRA would pick a guy like this with connections to the top levels of drug enforcement and homeland security. The anticipated cost of putting federal officers into every school in the country was originally estimated to be about $2 to 3 billion, but Hutchinson seems to have backed away from that, suggesting instead that volunteers (as long as they are “certified”) be allowed to carry firearms on school grounds to protect the kids.

I’m not casting aspersions here nor suggesting something is amiss here. I just found this interesting, and something to keep in mind as this NRA program rolls out.

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