Skip to comments.Friends in High Places: Bankrupt Enron Held Sway with Bush Administration!
Posted on 12/10/2001 7:47:51 AM PST by BluH2o
W A S H I N G T O N, Dec. 12 When the energy-trading firm Enron collapsed recently after disclosing financial irregularities, thousands of employees lost their jobs and investors lost billions. Enron's fall also crippled one of President Bush's most loyal corporate supporters.
The Houston-based company was among the first to back Bush when he ran for governor of Texas. Enron and its executives went on to become the largest source of financial support for Bush's gubernatorial campaigns, giving more than $500,000, according to a study by the Center for Public Integrity.
"Enron was the number one career patron for George W. Bush," said center director Charles Lewis. "There was no company in America closer to George W. Bush than Enron." Lewis says the company's goal in backing Bush and other politicians was to encourage further deregulation of the energy industry.
"Enron made a decision that they needed government to go their way and they put the money out to make sure that happened," he said.
Loyalty and Access
Congressional hearings open this week into Enron's financial implosion, which culminated in a Dec. 2. bankruptcy filing. The Labor Department, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are all investigating Enron. It's unclear to what extent the inquiries are examining the longstanding ties between administration officials and the company, which was once the seventh-largest U.S. corporation in terms of revenue.
Enron CEO Kenneth Lay has been a friend of Bush and the Bush family for years. When Gov. Bush ran for president, Enron gave him access to a company jet. (The Bush campaign reimbursed the company roughly $25,000 for the flights.)
In April 2000, when Enron opened a new baseball stadium named for the firm, then-candidate Bush sat right in front of Lay in the Enron box.
Since 1999, Enron and its executives have given more than $2 million to the Bush campaign and other GOP causes. Democrats got about a quarter of that amount.
As Bush assumed the presidency, Enron had unusual access to the new administration's deliberations about energy policy and appointments to important posts. Lay served on the Bush transition team and helped interview candidates for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees the gas pipelines and electricity grids that are key to Enron's business. Earlier this year, the commission's chairman, Curtis Hebert, who was being considered for reappointment by the White House, declared himself "offended" by Lay's lobbying efforts. Hebert later quit the panel.
When Vice President Dick Cheney drafted a new energy policy, he met with Lay and other Enron executives. Enron was reportedly the only company to be granted such a meeting.
Lay declined to be interviewed for this story.
Enron alumni also fill prominent slots in the Bush administration. The president's chief economic adviser, Larry Lindsey, and the top trade negotiator, Robert Zoellick, both served as advisers to the company. Secretary of the Army Thomas White was an Enron executive before joining the administration. When he assumed the Army post, White was forced to sell more than $25 million in Enron stock, according to a financial disclosure form he filed.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D.-Calif., has been pressing Cheney to detail his contacts with the troubled company.
"There is a very intimate connection between Enron and the Bush administration. How could they not have known what was happening?" Waxman said in an interview last week. "I think we need to find out what people in the administration knew, many of whom used to work for Enron. We ought to find out whether they ignored warning signs."
In the past, the White House has resisted requests for information about its dealings with the energy industry. The General Accounting Office, the investigative and auditing arm of Congress, threatened to sue Cheney earlier this year after he declined to turn over documents about his meetings with Enron and others interested in the energy policy he was developing. After the Sept. 11 attacks, GAO said the effort to get Cheney's records was no longer a priority.
Despite the administration's numerous ties to Enron, the White House has deflected questions about the company's failure. Reporters who asked White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer about Enron were referred to the Treasury Department.
However, Fleischer said last week that Congress has grounds to investigate how Enron fell so far so fast.
"It's very understandable why people in Congress
charged with oversight of any implications of Enron's bankruptcy would seek hearings," he said.
The Bush people need to put this fire out immediately.
This 21-year employee is a moron. Nobody with any financial sense would have almost their entire 401(k) account invested in one company. In fact, a good financial planner will tell you that you should NEVER invest more than a token amount of money in your employer if it is a publicly-traded company.
What good did all the connections do them?
Sure, the golden parachutes get theirs, but that's true in any corporation.
The solution is to get your own corporation, rather than relying on someone else to give you a 401K.
Why wasn't this guy complaining about high energy prices when his 401K was at 500,000?
The company I work for limits the amount of 401(k) that you can invest in the company. If memory serves me right, we are not allowed to invest more than 25% of our 401(k) in company stock. Might even be a lower %.
Oh, and now a bunch of the employees who lost everything because they put everything in Enron are suing Enron and want their money back. Unless they were illegally and fraudulantly advised to invest that way, tough shit.
The democrats will use this unmercifully against the Bush administration. This is what the democ"rats" push all the time ... the little guy against the big guy ... labor against management, etc.. Now they have the goods on Bush ... or, at least think they do.
Well, at least Bush and Co. have not made it their goal to bankrupt "big tobacco", "big firearms", "big medicine", "big Microsoft", etc. As the Dems. have. And by doing so the Dems. actively try to put Americans out of their jobs. Heck, the Dems. should be happy, since Enron was in the energy business and so must have been part of "big oil". And they hate big oil.
The Dems. take in huge amounts of money from trial lawyers who take money right out of the public's pockets. Trial lawyers like John O'Quinn, etc. They shake down the companies mentioned above and then fund the Dems. But ABC does not say a thing about that. Pissants!
Waxman's giant black nostrils are flaring over the secret Enron-Cheney meeting..wonder what advantage he thinks Enron got?
As for our nation's oil shortage, I suggest drilling in Nostril Waxman's two hairy black holes. No telling what we're likely to find.
Don't expect to hear this version in the liberal mainstream media. Charlie Gibson, host on GMA, was having a near orgasim with this story ... tomorrow will be Katie Courics turn at NBC.
You're right, the fact he was duped by his own 21 year company then wasn't allowed to sell his shares when the upper mangement was bailing out is all his fault...
But I wonder if your response would have been the same if the article was about Clinton/Enron rather than Bush/Enron....just wondering.
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