Washington (CNN)The Wall Street veteran whose multi-million dollar mansion hosted the first fundraiser for Jeb Bush's newly created political action committee held a top job at an insurance brokerage that was sued by the state of Florida for swindling clients while Bush was governor.
Host of first Jeb Bush 2016 fundraiser tied to Florida pay-to-play lawsuit
Charles Davis was the vice chairman of Marsh and McLennan Companies during much of the time that Florida officials accused the company of taking kickbacks and rigging bids.
Now the Democrats who uncovered the company's legal troubles are using them to question Bush's judgment at time when he's beginning to look more and more like a presidential candidate.
"Why would you ever go back to somebody who has ripped you off," asked Ben Ray, spokesman for the Democratic Super PAC American Bridge.
Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell did not directly address questions about why Bush chose to hold the fundraiser at Davis' home or the political message it sends.
"Governor Bush is pleased by the tremendous support he has received as he turns his attention to weighing a potential run," she said in an email to CNN. "In the coming months, he will travel the country to gauge support for a potential run and discuss the policies needed to expand opportunity for every American."
Davis did not respond to requests for comment.
Davis worked for Marsh between 1998 and 2005 in a number of roles including vice chairman and as president, chief executive and chairman of Marsh's private equity business, according to a Forbes bio. Florida's chief financial officer and then Attorney General Charlie Crist, who succeeded Bush as governor, sued Davis' brokerage in 2006, less than a year after he left the company.
Officials accused "Marsh of engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity, including soliciting hidden payments in the form of contingency commissions, and steering hundreds of millions of dollars in business to insurance carriers willing to 'pay-to-play,'" according to a contemporaneous statement from Florida's chief financial officer.
The company settled the lawsuit with Florida and eight other states for $7 million in 2008.