Senate seeks evidence of ENRON influence
I forward (below) a news report from Reuters that tells us of what is clearly THE MOST IMPORTANT of all the ongoing inquiries into the ENRON shenanigans.....
It seeks to find out about ENRON's influence "inside" the CLINTON AND BUSH administrations ... by way of its political contributions.....
You will notice that the Bush people are insisting on calling this inquiry a "political" inquiry. Thus, by implication, a "bad" or unfair or inappropriate inquiry -- as opposed to the "appropriate" criminal inquiries that are also in progress in Washington.
Nothing could be further from the truth!!! In an obvious strategy to "calm the public outcry," the politicians should NOT be allowed to deflect public attention (away from the 'political corruption' issue) by simply throwing the "crooks" to the wolves in the criminal courts.
That is clearly the strategy which the Bush Administration is attempting to create by the public statements quoted below. In spite of what they are saying, this is NOT "just politics" at work....!!! (Who was it that ever said "political corruption is not a criminal matter" anyway? Nobody that I ever heard of.)
The ENRON shenanigans cry out for much more than merely satisfying a lust for criminal justice. ENRON smells of political corruption. That, too, may be a criminal matter of the highest order!!!
This senate inquiry (led by Senator Lieberman) is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the criminal inquiries because it gets to the very heart of the INTEGRITY of our Washington political process!!! Political contributions as "bribes" -- that imply a payback will be due from office holders -- is an issue that screams out to be inquired into!!!!
Long after the "criminals" have been locked in jail for "stealing" from their employees and stockholders, if the public interest is to be properly served, the political "contributions" (bribe$$$$$) and "influence peddling" of ENRON officials by means of those contributions ... must be fully uncovered and revealed to the public.
Such "bribery" is much more subtle than the usual "garden variety" bribery which history provides us. The kind of bribery which enriches the politician's pockets with an "under the table" payment. ANY CASE where the contribution is given with the expectation of ANY KIND of a "political" quid-pro-quo ... is bribery. It is unlawful. It is criminal behavior.
It may be something so seemingly small as a political office appointment ... or the change (or addition) of a word in the drafting of legislation. Something like, changing: "communities will exercise control of the decision to locate telecom towers in their own community" ... to: "communities will NOT exercise...."
It is particularly important, I consider, that the inquiry pursue the ENRON contribution$$$$ and insider activity back into the Clinton years, as Senator Lieberman has indicated he is doing in the story below. It will also be important that the full panoply of ENRON "influence peddling", via its contribution$$$$, be pursued into the halls of congress as well. ....Also to the key bureaucracies (e.g., Department of Energy and FERC) where ENRON allegedly shaped public policy to serve its own corporate interests..... (Pursuing this search for truth into the halls of congress and the bureaucracy will be MOST DIFFICULT for the Lieberman inquiry to persist in. Give them all the encouragement and support you can!!!)
ENRON was not the first BIG RICH corporation to engage in this kind of nefarious influence peddling -- throwing its weight around with its "contribution" dollar$$$$$. It may not even have been the most egregious. But the ENRON case is unique in the OPPORTUNITY which it gives the public to fully explore into the shadowy depths of Washington "insider" activity. The ENRON situation presents any lawful senate or house committee that truly wants to expose the ugly "under belly" of our democracy with a bevy of potential witnesses who may be ready to be honestly helpful for their own reasons of self interest or public exoneration.
Who knows -- many of them may actually desire to be called to "tell their story" and get it "off their conscience" in furtherance of the public welfare......!!!??? Remember, that is actually what began to occur once the tobacco hearings got into full swing.
A failure by the news media to pursue and "prod" Senator Lieberman's committee investigation into this story ... would also be an egregious matter if that is what eventually unfolds. This is a rare and golden opportunity which needs to be fully exploited in the public interest......
The claims by the Bush people that this Senate inquiry is nothing more than a "political" effort ... are shallow and self serving..... Let's be sure that the media exposes that phony and diversionary theme as well!!!!
Roy Beavers (EMFguru)
It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.....
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men
to do nothing..... .......Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PROFIT$$$
©2002 Reuters Limited.
Senate Subpoenas Enron on W House Contact
Saturday March 23, 1:01 PM EST
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Senate committee has issued subpoenas to Enron Corp. board members to ask about their contacts with the Bush and Clinton administrations, including communications on energy policy, a committee spokeswoman said late on Friday.
The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee issued 29 subpoenas to Enron, its former auditing firm Andersen and members of the board going back to 1992, said committee spokeswoman Leslie Phillips.
She said the subpoenas to Enron and Andersen had gone out on Friday and the subpoenas to current and former Enron board members would go out on Monday.
The subpoenas asked them for documents about their White House contacts on energy policy during the administrations of President Bush and former President Bill Clinton and federal agencies that regulated the bankrupt former energy giant, Phillips added.
The committee is chaired by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat.
It is the first time a congressional committee has sought to subpoena information linked to the White House since 10 House of Representatives and Senate panels began probes of Enron's collapse late last year.
But the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, has gone to court to try to get information about energy industry executives consulted by the Bush White House while it crafted its energy policy a year ago.
A White House spokeswoman said the Bush administration hoped Congress would steer clear of politics in its Enron probes.
"They have avoided being political thus far and we would hope they would continue that," said Claire Buchan. "The focus, in the president's view, should be aggressive pursuit of the criminal investigation as well as pension reforms and shareholders' protections."
Those who would receive committee subpoenas include former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay, a longtime and generous donor to Bush's political campaigns, as well as Jeffrey Skilling, the former chief executive of the collapsed energy trader, Phillips said.
Subpoenas also were being sent to Enron director Wendy Gramm, wife of Texas Republican Sen. Phil Gramm, and Lord John Wakeham, a former Conservative minister in Britain who left Enron's board last month, Phillips added.
LARGEST BANKRUPTCY IN U.S. HISTORY
In December, Enron filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, wiping out thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in equity held by employees and other investors.
Bush has sought to distance himself from the scandal, and so far the political fallout from the company's collapse has been limited. High-ranking Bush administration officials say Lay telephoned them asking for help last year as the company faced bankruptcy but that they did nothing and the president knew nothing about it.
Enron also lobbied the Clinton administration and donated to both political parties. A conservative public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, has charged that both administrations assisted in a huge fraud that enabled Enron to avoid regulation and oversight.
Although the information the Senate committee seeks includes contacts on the energy policy the Bush administration formulated last spring, spokeswoman Phillips denied it was trying to pull the White House into the Enron debacle.
"This is not directed at the administration, this is directed at Enron. We're looking for the story of Enron's communications with the government, with the goal in mind of keeping this from happening again," Phillips said.
The committee has issued subpoenas asking for documents related to contacts with eight federal agencies in addition to the White House. The agencies are: the departments of commerce, energy and labor; the Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corp.; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
©2002 Reuters Limited.
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