Frederick M. Bush, whose nomination as ambassador to Luxembourg died last year because of his dealings with the scandal-plagued Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been named U.S. commissioner general to the 1992 World's Fair.
Bush, who is no relation to the president, will be the chief U.S. representative to what is being billed as the largest world's fair in history, U.S. Information Agency Director Bruce S. Gelb said in announcing Bush's appointment.
Bush, 41, will receive no salary in the post, but will be paid per diem for travel and expenses, a lucrative perk because frequent travel to Seville, Spain, where the fair will be held, will be required. Unlike ambassadorial posts, the job does not require Senate confirmation.
After President Bush nominated him early last year to become ambassador to Luxembourg, Fred Bush was called to testify before a House subcommittee probing influence peddling at HUD. The inquiry found that a company headed by Bush, a former deputy chief of staff to then-Vice President Bush, received large fees to lobby on behalf of clients with HUD projects.
In an interview, Fred Bush said being an ambassador "was something I always wanted to do, but I'm excited about doing this." He said he "would not have taken" the post had he believed the HUD controversy would prevent him from being effective.
Bush said he continues to do political fund-raising and has worked recently as a consultant for several clients seeking business in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. He plans to drop the business clients.
Fred Bush was national finance director of Bush's presidential campaign in 1979 and deputy finance chairman in 1988. He "is credited with having raised more than $150 million for President Bush and his affiliated political activities" in the last 10 years, according to USIA.
"Fred's extensive business, fund-raising and international experience will be invaluable in gaining private sector support" for U.S. participation in the fair, said Gelb.
Congress has appropriated $13 million to build the pavilion for the U.S. exhibit of industry and culture. Bush will be responsible for raising at least another $13 million for it.