An alert FrontBurnervian points us to a story published two days ago by ProPublica. It bears a great headline: “Want to Meet With the Trump Administration? Donald Trump Jr.’s Hunting Buddy Can Help.” Here’s the lead:
Over the past two years, the Trump administration has been grappling with how to handle the transition to the next generation of mobile broadband technology. With spending expected to run into hundreds of billions of dollars, the administration views it as an ultra-high-stakes competition between U.S. and Chinese companies, with enormous implications both for technology and for national security. Top officials from a raft of departments have been meeting to hash out the best approach.
But there’s been one person at some of the discussions who has a different background: He’s Donald Trump Jr.’s hunting buddy. Over the past two decades, the two have trained their sights on duck, pheasant and white-tailed deer on multiple continents. (An email from another Trump Jr. pal characterized one of their joint duck-hunting trips to Mexico years ago as “muy aggresivo.”)
Tommy Hicks Jr., 41, isn’t a government official; he’s a wealthy private investor. And he has been a part of discussions related to China and technology with top officials from the Treasury Department, National Security Council, Commerce Department and others, according to emails and documents obtained by ProPublica. In one email, Hicks refers to a meeting at “Langley,” an apparent reference to the CIA’s headquarters.
It’s a good read. ProPublica did get some interesting stuff out of those emails it obtained through an open-records request. But ultimately there’s not much here. A lot of it is old news about Hicks’ years-ago misbehavior. Beyond that, the vague implication is that a bunch of Dallas guys are getting in on some early action to enrich (enricher?) themselves as the United States builds out its 5G network. The Dallas crew: Mi Cocina man (and former Overseas Private Investment Corporation honcho) Ray Washburne, Tommy Hicks, and hedge funder Kyle Bass, who has shorted Chinese currency. I hasten to point out that ProPublica has almost certainly overlooked some other Dallasites who are likely involved. I’m thinking Gentry Beach, Doug Deason, and Andy Beal.
But I don’t see that ProPublica has shown any malfeasance. Rich people like to go hunting with other rich people. They like to invest their money in each other’s funds and invite each other to participate in deals. Everyone knows Bass is shorting China (he’s said as much on TV), and this Dallas access to the White House has been written about before. Like I said, though, read the story. Voyeurism is fun.