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Jeb Bush Has a Mitt Romney Problem

A private-equity-guy presidential candidate with lots of deals for the press to untangle—it sounds at least 47 percent familiar.

Over the last several months, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has been giving speeches, campaigning for candidates, appearing at public forums, and meeting with wealthy donors, which has led many people to believe that he may soon enter the race to become the next Republican presidential nominee. On Dec. 1, Bush told a gathering of business leaders at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington that he would make a decision about his political future “in short order.” But Bush’s recent business ventures reveal that he shares a number of liabilities with the last nominee, Mitt Romney, whose career in private equity proved so politically damaging that it sunk his candidacy.

Documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 27 list Bush as chairman and manager of a new offshore private equity fund, BH Global Aviation, which raised $61 million in September, largely from foreign ­investors. In November the fund ­incorporated in the United Kingdom and Wales­—a ­structure, several independent finance lawyers say, that operates like a tax haven by allowing overseas investors to avoid U.S. taxes and regulations.