Oct. 13 - Is there a link between George W. Bush and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon? Some Bush foes are alleging there is - and are scrambling to prove it.
THE RUMBLINGS ORIGINATED because former president George Bush has accepted substantial fees from Moon, the head of the controversial Unification Church (whose followers are sometimes called "Moonies") and the owner of the conservative Washington Times. Bush has allegedly accepted at least $1 million from the Church for various speaking engagements (some put the figure closer to $10 million). He has called Moon "a man of vision" and has spoken on his behalf in front of groups in Washington, Tokyo and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In 1996, Bush gave the keynote address when Moon launched his new publishing venture in Buenos Aires. "I want to salute Rev. Moon, who is the founder of The Washington Times and also of Tiempos del Mundo," the former president said. He lauded the Washington Times for promoting "sanity" - and said that Moon's new Argentinean newspaper "is going to do the same thing."
"Some [Democratic foes] of George W. Bush are convinced that there is a link and they're looking to prove it," says one source. "At the very least, it doesn't look good that old man Bush seems to be so tight with the Moonies when his standing has been so instrumental in launching George W.'s political career."
A Bush spokesman dismisses the talk. "This is the first I've heard of that," campaign spokesman Brian Jones said with a bit of a chuckle. He called back to say that "the campaign has not received funds [from Moon] of any note."