Jeb Bush’s connection to the Bloomberg Family Foundation is drawing increased scrutiny, suggesting that what he views as routine hobnobbing with other charter members of the elite class could haunt him politically.

Bush was asked in last Thursday night’s debate why he served as a director for a charity that donated tens of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood. Gosh, he replied, he had no idea!

The increased scrutiny of Bush’s role following the debate drew top-of-the-page treatment on Monday by Politico, which noted that his association with the foundation could provoke the ire of the GOP base.

Bush served as a director from 2010 to 2014, and during his tenure the foundation worked with Planned Parenthood on a $50-million global initiative on women’s heath. During that time, according to Politico, the organization’s support for “reproductive health projects” expanded significantly.

Any connection to Planned Parenthood by a Republican presidential candidate could be particularly damaging now in light of recent videos released showing officials from the group callously peddling fetal organs.

Any connection to Planned Parenthood by a Republican presidential candidate could be particularly damaging now in light of recent videos released showing officials from the group callously peddling fetal organs.

Bush seemed caught off guard by questions by debate moderator Megyn Kelly of Fox News about his association with the group.

“Until late 2014, right before you started your campaign, you sat on the board of a Bloomberg charity that quite publicly gave tens of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood while you were a director,” moderator Kelly said to Bush. “How could you not know about these well publicized donations and if you did know, how could you help a charity so openly committed to abortion rights?”

Bush responded haltingly, defending his involvement.

“I joined the Bloomberg Foundation because of Mike Bloomberg’s shared commitment for meaningful education reform. That’s why I was on it,” Bush said. “We never had debate about the budget. It was presented and we approved it, not item by item.”

Knowing each minute detail of an organization’s budget is one thing, but some are questioning how he could miss a $50 million initiative.

Who do you think would win the Presidency?

By completing the poll, you agree to receive emails from LifeZette, occasional offers from our partners and that you've read and agree to our privacy policy and legal statement.

Bush kept up his attempt to salvage his initial weak response: “Here’s my record. As governor of the state of Florida, I defunded Planned Parenthood. I created a culture of life in our state.”

But Kelly wasn’t satisfied with that answer, or lack thereof, and pressed him: “Did you know?”

Long, pregnant pause.

“No, I didn’t know,” he insisted. “But it doesn’t matter. I was working on this board because of the education. My record is clear. My record as a pro-life governor is not in dispute. I am completely pro-life.”

Bush maintained that his personal views on abortion and public defense of life are “something that goes way beyond politics.”

Bush is certain to undergo further scrutiny concerning his ties with the foundation. The former Florida governor may be forced to reveal any association with other major Bloomberg initiatives, including Bloomberg’s anti-Second Amendment efforts; his quest to use the “nanny state” to control soda sizes; and massive contributions to shuttering coal-fired power plants and the jobs that go with them.

Bloomberg has suggested James Madison never promised anyone a large soda.

“We’re not banning you from getting the stuff. It’s just if you want 32 ounces, the restaurant has to serve it in two glasses,” he once said. “That is not exactly taking away your freedoms. It is not something the Founding Fathers fought for,” Bloomberg said on NBC’s “Today Show.”

Bloomberg is reportedly spending at least $50 million running TV ads and using other methods to make his gun control ideas a part of the election debate.

Those, of course, are not popular positions for Republican primary voters, and a past affiliation with the champion of those big government initiatives is not likely to serve Bush well either.

[lz_virool paragraph=”2”]