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Let the Enron Debate...Begin(48 posts)

Let the Enron Debate...BeginJrm
Jan 14, 2002 9:26 AM
Ok, Enron contributes heavily to dubya's political campaine, Enron makes mega bucks by screwing electricity/natural gas users in California...While dubya turns his back on california because he didnt win california. Then after making all this money....Enron rushes to closes shop.

Why would they close shop after such gains? They where around for a long time before dubya rigged the election, why all of a sudden do they fold NOW? Is not like the market for privatized utilities is going away..Why Now?

Pretzel anyone?
Jeez, a man doesn't know WHAT to hope for...Retro
Jan 14, 2002 9:31 AM
One part of me hopes Enron drags W down with it, and another part says nah, that just gives us Cheney, but a third part says, yeah, but Cheney can't be re-elected because of his health and meanwhile, everybody KNOWS he's in the oil companies' pockets, and a tiny voice says, "but so far it doesn't look like the Bush administration did anything wrong" (not that that mattered when the GOP was hunting Clinton)...
What I really wonder, though, is where Cheney got those pretzels.
O.K...TJeanloz
Jan 14, 2002 9:44 AM
The problem with this theory is that Enron contributed quite heavily to ranking Democrats too, and they have to carefully sling mud so that none of it hits them on the rebound.

The bottom line, it turns out, is that while Enron was making big bucks bending Californians over, they were losing bigger bucks in off balance sheet assets. To paraphrase a good analysis: they lost half a billion dollars in bad deals, but the company was so complex financially that nobody (but a few) knew where the money was. And when somebody (Arthur Anderson) asked where the money was, Enron effectively said: "I don't know, I must have left it in my other pants." and the analysts say: "you guys are so smart, you couldn't have LOST that much money, so it must, in fact, be in your other pants."

The fallacy in your argument is that Enron was not the highly profitable company that they led the public to believe they were. They actually never really made mega-bucks, and were more like modern wizards of Oz.
Disingenuous donation infoJason H
Jan 14, 2002 10:45 AM
Of the $5.8 million that is on record as Enron campaign donations 73 percent went to Republicans and 27 percent to Democrats.
In his time as chairman of Enron, Kenneth Lay gave Dubya $623,000 in donations of Enron money plus 10,500 to his Florida recount committee and $300,000 for the inaugural celebrations.
Is $1.5 Million Chump Change?TJeanloz
Jan 14, 2002 11:45 AM
That's what Enron gave to Democrats (according to your figures), I'd say that's enough to do political damage.
You need to get your facts straightJason H
Jan 14, 2002 3:10 PM
The vast majority of their giving to Democrats was to Democratic House members from Texas. NOT ranking Democratic members. Like the person below I too would like to know the names on that list of yours of ranking Democrats that have gotten big donations from Enron. Maybe you were just talking out of your ###
Straight as an Arrow...TJeanloz
Jan 15, 2002 11:34 AM
The question posed is which Democrats have gotten big donations from Enron. Since your idea of big and my idea of big are probably different, I'll just list the recipients:

Tom Daschle (SD): $6,000
Charles Schumer (NY): $22,000
Joseph Lieberman (CT): $2,000
Edward Kennedy (MA): $1,000
Hillary Clinton (NY): $950 (She is admittedly not ranking, but interesting anyway).

On the House side:
Richard Gephardt (MO): $4,750
Martin Frost (TX): $24,250 - He's the House Democratic Caucus Chairman.

There are a lot more that could be listed, but I tried to list only the more important legislators. From perusing the data, it seems that what state the legislator was from had more to do with how much money they got than what party they were from- Texans got all of the biggest contributions.

As for how it broke down in terms of Republican/Democrat: 6 of the ten biggest recipients in the House were Democrats (including the top 2). Of those ten, 8 were from Texas, and Texans made up the whole top 7. In the Senate, things were a little different, with 8 of the top 10 recipients being Republicans. The top two, were not surprisingly, the two Texas senators. As far as averages, the average Democratic recipient in the House recieved more than the average Republican recipient. While in the Senate, the average Republican got more than the average Democrat.

I can guess that your response is going to be that $6,000 to Daschle or $950 to Hillary is, in fact, chump change. But there weren't many non-Texans who got more than $6,000, and Schumer, a Democrat, got the most of any non-Texan.

The conclusion one might draw if they strictly "followed the money" is not that this is a Republican conspiricy, but a Texan one (they haven't been happy since they were their own republic). The common thread that all the biggest recipients have is not party affiliation- but the state they represent.

So, now that I have my facts straight, I encourage you to double check yours. All of the data provided above was gleaned from: www.opensecrets.org- a wealth of knowledge about campaign finance.
Not QuiteJason H
Jan 15, 2002 1:21 PM
Your statement was "Enron contributed quite heavily to ranking Democrats too" Look at your list of recipients and see how many ranking Democrats got more than the $2000 per cycle that most politicians get from average active political givers. Describing Enron's giving to Democrats as heavy or big or somehow as making it seem equal was ludicrous.
If you read the post I made right after this one I say that most of their money to Democrats were to those from Texas. I was just trying to clear up a misunderstanding that you were giving people that Democrats were BIG recipients of Enron's money.
Dubya certainly was though.
One fact you have overlooked. Schumer gave back the $24,433, Enron gave him in 1998 during his race against D'Amato, when it became clear what Enron was doing in California.
You're right,TJeanloz
Jan 15, 2002 1:36 PM
The contributions that Enron made to President Bush were much larger than those that they made to ranking Democrats- but my point remains that the Democrats can't sling a whole lot of mud on the issue, because they also took money. What are they going to say: "Bush is in their pocket because he got MORE money that we did." I guess they probably will try that, but it's thin ice. It is clear that they did give more to Republicans than to Democrats, but that seems a fools argument: We both took dirty money, but you took more, so it's all your fault.

As for Schumer, according to opensecrets.org, you're off by a decimel place; he recieved $24,433 and he gave back $2,500- yielding my $22,000 figure. But they might be wrong.

And finally, I'm left to ponder, what's the problem here? What wrongdoing was there, at all, by anyone? I think I'd be calling for an investigation if the government had bailed Enron out (as they did LTCM, and as Ken Lay asked them to). But it seems to me that this was just a fair case of a business going bankrupt- happens every day, except that this was a big business. I'd appreciate it if somebody could explain what the problem is.
You're right,Jason H
Jan 15, 2002 2:07 PM
Schumer gave back $2500 in 1999 because it was given illegally in Lay's name but came from Enron. He gave back the balance last year when the California debacle was taking place. Gephardt and Daschle also gave their contributions back last year. No Republicans did however.
This is about how money buys access. No different than Clinton's Lincoln bedroom rentals. Lay has also stayed in the Lincoln bedroom by the way. It's about Lay having talks with Cheney when energy policy was being written and the deregulation of utilities was being discussed. The very kinds of deregulation that reaped Enron huge profits in California. About talking to the Secretary of the Treasury when regulators are looking at your books and you know your company is about to go under. Quid pro quos are exceedingly difficult to document, but big contributors to Presidents, like Lay, clearly receive the unprecedented access that those without the money don't.
"access," like for pardons? nmDog
Jan 15, 2002 2:46 PM
We don't who all Bush will be pardoning yetnm
Jan 15, 2002 4:34 PM
Can't never be as bad as Clintons pardonsohmy
Jan 15, 2002 5:16 PM
LOL ..Your right they could be like his FathersJason H
Jan 15, 2002 5:50 PM
The Christmas Eve 1992 pardons of Weinberger and the other Iran-Contra defendants.

Or when on Jan. 18, 1993, the soon-to-be-former president signed a clemency order freeing Aslam Adam from Butner federal prison in North Carolina. A Pakistani national, Adam had by then served eight years of a 55-year sentence for smuggling $1.5 million worth of heroin into the United States.

Or the pardon of Armand Hammer who won what he called the "vindication" of a presidential pardon only months after he poured well over $100,000 into Republican Party coffers, and another $100,000 into the accounts of the Bush-Quayle Inaugural committee.

Or Cuban exile Orlando Bosch who American intelligence and law enforcement authorities firmly believed was responsible for the 1976 explosion that brought down a Cuban airliner, killing all 76 civilians aboard. The Justice Department and FBI warned the President that Bosch had "repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death. Freeing Bosch at a time when Washington was condemning terrorism abroad would obviously be hard to explain." Bosch had a well connected White House lobbyist though-- a Florida local politician named Bush.
Jeb Bush, by 1990, had already become wealthy in real estate and other deals with the same Cuban exile businessmen who wanted Bosch to be freed. Among Jeb's business partners were a number of the people active in the Cuban-American National Foundation, the institutional advocate for Bosch.

I'll leave it with these four examples. I hope my point is made.
Interesting newsDJB
Jan 16, 2002 3:32 AM
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20020116-72360012.htm
Interesting newsreid
Jan 16, 2002 8:22 AM
The Washington Times doesn't have a bias word in it does it. Here is how the author ends the matter with each administration. "Clinton administration officials have denied any wrongdoing," and "There is no evidence Mr. Cheney or others, including Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans and Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill, with whom Mr. Lay also spoke, did anything for Enron, and Mr. Bush has pledged to aggressively pursue the Enron investigation".
BiasDJB
Jan 16, 2002 6:43 PM
You're right. The author should have stated that each side has denied any wrongdoing. But, that doesn't change the facts presented in the article. Enron got plenty of access to the Clinton White House. And apparently, much more cooperation.

My local newspaper had the following headline last Friday across the top of the entire front page (rather rare placement): "Enron sought Bush officials' help" with the subhead "Company auditors report destroying many documents".

Or how about CBS MarketWatch's David Callaway, who began an article on the 10th with the following: "The Enron debacle won't be President Bush's Whitewater. It will be much worse."

Clearly, there's no lack of bias on either side.
Interesting newsJason H
Jan 16, 2002 9:54 AM
The Washington Times bias? no never
Maybe the Washington Times should have said that during the entire 8 Clinton years Enron gave the Democrats (not Clinton, the Democrats) $490,060 in soft and pac money while also giving much more than that to Republicans. And in Dubya's "first" election and first year that Enron gave $1,721,843 in soft and pac money to Republicans. (the ratio of money being 94% to Republicans 6% to Democrats since Dubya got elected) But then that wouldn't have given quite the pro-Dubya slant to the article would it.
Do you make this stuff up?TJeanloz
Jan 16, 2002 1:28 PM
I really would like you to quote your source. The FEC figures that I can find for the period 1992-2000 (the entire 8 Clinton years- actually 9 if you count his election year) show that Enron contributed $1,446,304.24 to Democrats.

Admittedly, much more was given to Republicans in that same period (except in 1992 and 1994, when only moderately more (+20%) was given to Republicans).

My source is:
http://www.opensecrets.org/alerts/v6/enron_totals.asp
what's yours?
soft and pac only as stated in articleJason H
Jan 16, 2002 2:11 PM
The article was talking about soft and pac money only and so was I. I did make a mistake though. The Washington Times article said since 1995 so I erroneously started with 94-95 instead of 92. In 1992 you need to add $31,546 in soft money and $54,531 in pac money bringing the total to $576,173. The political contributions in 2000 were made to the Democrats and Gore not Clinton. I got the figures from the web site you mention in your other post so you could check them yourself. My usual sources are more reliable and have it as less but I'll give you yours,
Interesting newsDJB
Jan 16, 2002 7:16 PM
You seem convinced that more contributions = more access and cooperation.

On the contrary. It looks as if Enron got plenty of each from Clinton/Gore for a lot less money.

I thought Clinton/Gore was only interested in the 'little guy', not rich, powerful 'Big Energy'. What a bunch of hypocrites.

As far as the 'biased' Washington Times, it'll be interesting to see what, if anything, makes it into those paragons of evenhandedness, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Interesting newsJason H
Jan 16, 2002 9:51 PM
No I am convinced that large sustained contributions bring about an attitude of cooperation that sets aside the publics good for the benefit of the contributors. I am just as critical of Clinton as Dubya and all other politicians that sell themselves on this scale. What I am concerned about on this board is that many of you can't see that Dubya is just as bad as Clinton when it comes to this. Enron is baggage that he willingly brought from Texas. He was sustained by their money in Texas and their money and influence now. Besides the money that came directly from Enron Lay brought millions more in through his fundraising for Dubya. That Enron gave money to Democrats and Clinton and got results is the same thing. (just don't exaggerate the amount of it for disingenuous reasons) It is selling no matter who does it. I would make the argument that Enron has much more influence with Dubya and in some ways got more in one year with him than 8 with Clinton Just don't be naive in thinking that Dubya is above the political realities of selling himself. He has with Enron and is beginning to understand that there may be a price for doing it.
On being disingenuousDJB
Jan 17, 2002 7:38 PM
Since I didn't mention any amounts, it's hard to see how I could have exaggerated them. And just because we see things differently doesn't mean I'm being disingenuous. I certain trust that you're serious about the views you have.

Aside from that, I'm anything but naive. But getting contributions and input from industry leaders or labor leaders or religious leaders is not automatically selling oneself. That implies that Bush or any other president is a blank slate with no thoughts on which way to take the country. Take the current issue of energy. It makes sense to me for an energy company to support Republicans because in general they are more pro-growth, pro-energy (although I don't think that automatically makes you anti-environment), just as more labor groups support Democrats. People support the candidate that most closely supports their own views. That includes businesses.

Which, by the way, is why I found the article on Clinton/Gore's ties to Enron interesting. Because most Democrats make a living by demonizing 'Big Business'. Aren't they supposed to be protecting us from the likes of Ken Lay?

You also mentioned setting aside the public good. Just because a contributor is in favor of something doesn't mean they're out to screw the public. I happen to think a balanced energy policy is in the public interest. I also think that Kyoto would have hurt this country far more than you think. Especially the poor. Thank goodness Enron's money couldn't buy Bush's decision.
I understand the access...TJeanloz
Jan 16, 2002 9:39 AM
1st, I'm not really willing to believe you on who gave back what, only because I saw (and cited) the data provided by the FEC- and to believe you, I'd just have to take your word for it. I'd appreciate it if you could quote your source, and that your source be verifiable.

In terms of access, and money buying it, it is an interesting question, and as an economist, I don't think (my opinion) that there's anything wrong with it. The line is drawn where a law is broken. With Clinton offering up the Lincoln bedroom, I had (have) no problem. With the Marc Rich pardon, I don't think it was the right, ethical thing to do- but I don't question Mr. Clinton's ability to legally do it. He had the Constitutional right to grant Mr. Rich a pardon for whatever reason he wanted. It was a perfectly legal pardon.

However, on the question of access, doesn't it make sense that those people with the most vested in any particular project (like Enron was with energy policy) ought to be able to have their concerns heard by the policy setters? Would it make any sense at all to have the New Hampshire Electric Co-operative (my utility provider) have as much input as Enron, even though the outcome matters billions of dollars more to Enron than it does to NHEC? Corporate 'bought' access provides an efficiency that democracy does not otherwise have. With the one man-one vote system, we can't tell how badly people want something to happen. One of the major problems with our democratic system (in my opinion of course) is that we don't take into account a measure of how much people want a certain bill (or person) to be implemented.

We can use a simple election as an example. We'll say that we have two candidates running for election: Joe and Mary. Mary is the Socialist party candidate, and Joe is the Green party candidate. Their platforms are pretty similar, and the country of 1000 is pretty evenly divided. Except for one thing; the people who support Mary, really love her. They think Mary is the best thing that could possibly happen to their country. They think Joe is a complete loser and it would be a disaster if he were elected. There are 499 people who feel this way. Joe also has his supporters, 501 of them. All of them really don't care who wins, but when it comes time to pull the lever or punch their chad, their going to vote for the first person on the ballot alphabetically- so Joe wins. Joe really doesn't have any people who want him to be elected, but he wins (after 10 recounts and 4 Supreme Court decisions) with 501 votes. None of the people who voted for Joe would have minded if Mary were elected- so they aren't made any better or worse off. But Mary's 499 people are livid. They hated Joe. And he got elected. Those 499 people are all worse off because Joe was elected. The net result is that 499 people are worse off. If Mary's supporters could have convinced two people to change their votes, 499 people would have been made better off, and nobody was made worse off- because the 499 who voted for Joe didn't care who won in the first place.

Clearly, that example is overly simplistic, but it highlights the role that unlimited campaign finance plays in democratic society. Access can be bought, and it makes the system work.

So, I understand the access, but what's wrong with it? Each American also has access to the government through their elected representatives. Corporations can't vote- so cash is the only means by which they can get any access at all.
I understand the access...Jason H
Jan 16, 2002 2:18 PM
I only tell someone I don't believe them or challenge their statements when I know they're wrong. Like your Enron heavy contributions to Democrats statement. There are a number of ways you can verify the give backs. Use your intelligence and find it yourself.
When I am wrong I will respond quickly and correct it as I did above.

What's wrong with access to only the wealthy?

Just as Enron profited under Dubya's actions in Texas they have also with Dubya as President
Just one example from Texas is when Dubya gave special concessions to the Enron Methanol plant in Pasadena Texas allowing the plant to pollute without a permit and gave the company immunity from prosecution for violating numerous environmental standards.

Just one example from Dubya's still short Presidency. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which provides insurance risk coverage and financial support to U.S. companies investing abroad gave Enron $300 million in free financing and insurance coverage for it's foreign projects since Bush was elected. Enron had gotten only $200 million in the previous 11 years. A good return on its political investments in Dubya on just this.

Just one example of what direct access has gotten Enron:
Senate bill 2098 introduced by Sen. Conrad Burns and Sen. Frank Murkowski would have exempted Enron's coal fired plants and there toxic pollution from provisions in the Clean Air Act; would have done away with Citizen Utility Boards ( which were giving Enron headaches in the deregulated utility states); put roadblocks in the way of creating competitive wholesale electricity markets in deregulated states; made it more difficult for non-profit ownership and operation of the nations transmission systems and forced consumers to pay billions for the clean-up costs of nuclear reactors. All these provisions were of large financial benefit to Enron. The same provisions were in the Energy Policies on deregulation that Cheney and Lay had been working on. Of course the bill is dead now that Democrats control the Senate.

Just one question Congressional investigations may want to ask about Lays improper influence in the Dubya administration.
What was Lay's role in the sudden replacement of Curtis Hebert Jr. as Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman? As the New York Times reported, Hebert "had barely settled into his new job this year when he had an unsettling telephone conversation with Kenneth L. Lay, [in which Lay] prodded him to back a faster pace in opening up access to the electricity transmission grid to companies like Enron." Lay admits making the call but in an unctuous defense of his influence peddling said, "The final decision on Hebert's job was going to be the president's, certainly not ours." Soon after, Hebert was replaced by Texan Pat Wood, who was favored by Lay.

Your election analogy was too naïve for me to respond to.
Jobs and Duty,TJeanloz
Jan 17, 2002 10:21 AM
If we believe, as citizens of a democracy, that Enron and our elected representatives have done something wrong, then it is our job to either not re-elect them or remove them from office. We can't blame other people when we don't do our jobs. Nothing that was done (as far as I can tell) was illegal- so the democratic way to express our disapproval (if we, in fact, disapprove) is to remove the politician from office.

One problem that I have is the notion of "improper" influence. As if any influence can be improper. I cannot think of a better person to influence who is appointed to a federal commission on energy than the executive of a major energy concern. It's his business to know who would be good at the job. It's the appointers job to decide how much he (she) should weight that persons influence. I suppose improper influence would be if Bush asked Ken Lay who he should appoint Secretary of State.

I simply don't see the problem with influence pedaling. In a democracy (as we have) it is the job of the electorate to review each of the situations, and apparently, we the electorate, decided that we didn't really care in each of those cases. Enron did care- so they got their way.

Your argument is that access for the wealthy makes them wealthier. What's wrong with that? Kudos to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. If I thought it were costing me something real, I might feel differently. But it's like drilling ANWR- I don't care, it has only positive effects on me (lower gasoline prices), drill away, make yourselves rich. Why can't the rich get richer without making the poor poorer?
so what else is new...the rich get richer...(nm)Former Troll
Jan 14, 2002 11:10 AM
Oh Reallynm
Jan 14, 2002 11:24 AM
WHICH "ranking" Democrats have received BIG contributions from Enron.
There's something screwey going on around here.IAM
Jan 14, 2002 10:09 AM
It seems odd that executives would get millions in bonuses shortly before a company declares bankruptcy. I just read on netscape news that their auditing firm instructed employees to destroy Enron documents in the days leading up to this.

Every time I learn more news like this it just reassures the lack of trust that I have for big business. I have about as much faith in government(pick a party or country) but I will keep an open mind here because I haven't seen anything yet that
convinces me that W and friends did anything wrong, although I'm sure there is much more info to come.
Seems odd the execs get big bonuses?Former Troll
Jan 14, 2002 11:12 AM
why? happens all the time. They lay off thousands of people and get huge bonuses while the rank and file get salary freezes and threats of more layoffs.
It's SOP,TJeanloz
Jan 14, 2002 11:48 AM
The reason that Exec's get big bonuses before or right after bankruptcy is that they are the ones best prepared to restructure the company (by virtue of them knowing how everything is put together), and the bonuses need to be paid or the executives will walk away- leaving no chance for a decent restructuring.

I think this is a terrible system, personally, I'd have the bankruptcy law require that all corporate officers stay on for free until the company is out of Chapter 11 one way or another. They are the ones who put it there in the 1st place.
inside infoDog
Jan 14, 2002 10:41 AM
I don't know much about this, but the one aspect that bothers me is company exec's selling stock and making millions prior to the company tanking.

If the legal process can force the company exec's to pay back money and then return it to the employees relying upon the stock for retirement, then that should be done.

Something about this smells. Can't put my finger on it in a legal sense, but someone will.

It is not the job of the government to micromanage corporations or stock transactions. But, the judiciary is there to rectify problems if there are abuses.

A law requiring company execs to report publicly their company stock transactions would help (assuming it's not there already). Shareholders would at least have a clue that something was up of the CEO sells $350 million in company stock.

Dog

Dog
inside infoMJ
Jan 14, 2002 11:14 AM
you're right - something smells - and it seems everybody is tainted - the legal drama (and associated free for all) is only just beginning - it's already having a profound impact on legal & commercial work in London

trading commodities where you put all your losses into company offshore accounts catches up eventually - nobody has 24 quarters of nearly exponential growth - the oldest comments are the best for situations like this - if it sounds too good to be true it probably is

the little guy always gets screwed in these things - the execs put all their money into personal offshore accounts
There is a law,TJeanloz
Jan 14, 2002 11:52 AM
Insider trading must be reported to the SEC and be available to the public. Everybody knew that something was fishy when the executives were bailing out. The problem was that the rank-and-file were unable to sell their stock. The media has made out like this was a ploy by the evil executives, but it was actually a case where they knew a year in advance that they wouldn't be able to sell their stock for this period, because Enron was changing 401(k) administrators.
quiet periodsmr_spin
Jan 14, 2002 12:13 PM
Also, most companies have "quiet" periods, where no company employee can sell stock. These usually come around earnings time, at the end of each quarter. Earnings have a huge effect on the price of the stock, so this prevents anyone with inside knowledge from taking advantage.

Some companies are really, really strict. Their quiet period starts one month before earnings and lasts until one month after. Since there are only three months in a quarter, that leaves one month you can sell stock, or four months for the whole year. This isn't typical, however. Usually it's companies that have gotten in trouble with the SEC trying to be over cautious.

I once worked at a company where the price would always shoot way up during the quiet time when we couldn't sell. By the time quiet time ended, it was back to where it used to be. All we could do was watch. Gee, thanks!
I think they needed to smoke more pot and ride bents (nm)Deggo
Jan 14, 2002 11:15 AM
boringgtx
Jan 14, 2002 11:31 AM
Monica Lewinsky was much more interesting. I bet this won't even have the staying power of Whitewater.
I'll tell you one thing...or twomr_spin
Jan 14, 2002 12:03 PM
I think the "call the president" thing is basically a non-issue. It's just the Democrats digging up dirt and trying to cause scandal. This is the flip side, the unintended consequence, of what the Republicans did all during Clinton's presidency. Sadly, they've taken us all down the road of shame so far, nothing shocks us anymore. This is the best they can come up with? Oh wait--I guess Monica derived from the Whitewater thing. Amazing the system works at all with all the idiots running it.

As for Enron, the executives are scum for walking away with so much. Clearly they knew it was going down because it's their job to know. They should be forced to give back their bonuses and stock gains. Why should anyone get a bonus for running a company into the ground? That just doesn't make sense. If nothing else, the stockholders should sue to recover those bonuses. They are idiots if they don't.

On the other hand, basic human compassion requires me to feel sympathetic towards all the retirees who invested so much in their own company's stock and lost. But I don't. That was a high risk gamble and they lost. Has no one heard of diversification? Mutual funds rarely exceed 5% of their funds in any one stock, which should be a lesson for us all. You never, ever put your retirement at risk unless you are young enough to recover from a loss. That means under 30--35 is pushing it.

Finally, as a Californian, for a microsecond I did crack a bit of a smile at the death of Enron. Enron thumbed its nose at California, gave it the finger, and said eat this, suckers. I remember reading letters in the paper from a Houston resident claiming they were running their air conditioners and hot tubs full blast just to piss us off (like we care--they live in HOUSTON!). I wonder what they are doing now? Still, there's nothing to really be happy about here.

One sad situation begets another.
One question...DJB
Jan 15, 2002 6:16 PM
First of all, Monica didn't derive from Whitewater. It was the Paula Jones sexual harassment charges.

My question is this. If the affair with Monica wasn't evidence of sexual harassment, why didn't Bill Clinton or his lawyer, Robert Bennett (Enron's current lawyer!!) simply object to those particular questions as irrelevent? Why did he even have to answer?
One question...mr_spin
Jan 16, 2002 8:04 AM
Monica wasn't sexual harrassment. In fact, there was nothing legally wrong with the President having sex with her. Kenneth Starr was hired to investigate Whitewater, but when that turned out to be a red herring, he spent countless hours and untold millions of dollars looking for something else. Eventually he stumbled upon Monica, which came from a tip from that hag whats-her-name (Tripp?). I believe the connection was that in a deposition for Paula Jones, Clinton said he had never had sex with Monica or anyone, thereby perjuring himself. That's my recollection. I could be wrong. I don't want to recall too much!

Thankfully, all these people have faded into the background for the most part. What a sad bunch of characters.
You're partly right, mostly wrong.DJB
Jan 16, 2002 7:58 PM
Monica wasn't sexually harassed, Paula Jones was.

You know that if Paula turned down Bill and got fired for it, it's harassment.

What you don't seem to know (I'll give you the benefit of the doubt), is that if Paula doesn't have anything happen to her at all, good or bad, but Monica gets all kinds of job related benefits, it's also harassment.

That's why Clinton was required to answer the questions about Monica in the Jones deposition. The judge ruled that that kind of activity was relevant to the charges. It wasn't the affair itself, but what Monica got that really counted.

What did Monica get you ask?

Don't forget about Vernon Jordan and Bill Richardson.

I'm not sure of the timing, but at some point, Monica wanted a job in New York. Jordan is a big-time lawyer and Friend of Bill who was given the task of helping her. Among others, he solicited the CEO (I think) of Revlon on whose board Jordan sat.

Richardson at the time was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He ended up going to Monica's apartment building (the Watergate no less) with a couple of staff members to interview her for a job which he later offered to her. In fact I think he created a new position in his office for her.

Not to apologize for what Linda Tripp did, but don't forget that Clinton and Monica were trying to get her to perjure herself.

And as far as Ken Starr goes, he didn't (nor could he have) keep going after Clinton just because he wanted to. He had to get permission from a panel of Federal judges. Sort of like getting a warrant. The reason he did was that Vernon Jordan had been implicated in the Whitewater case by way of seeking to provide jobs for Web Hubbell, even as Hubbell was being prosecuted for his part of Whitewater, presumably to keep him quiet. When Jordan's name popped up in the Jones case, Starr made the connection.

Look, I'm not trying to change your mind about Clinton.

It just bothers me when you sound as if he were blameless, and it was only those 'shameful' Republicans who wouldn't leave him alone. What you're really doing is minimizing sexual harassment. Not to mention perjury, contempt of court, disbarment and obstruction of justice.
Reps and Dems got the cashPaulCL
Jan 14, 2002 1:15 PM
75% of all congressmen in the last election received a contribution of some sort from Enron. It was on the news this AM.

As for W and his election...Enrons' contribution was a pittance when looking at a $200-300 million campaign. The president is hardley bought.
Let's e-flame dem' Texas sun-em-bintches!STEELYeyed
Jan 14, 2002 2:07 PM
Strange truthsJason H
Jan 14, 2002 3:52 PM
The only way that can be said is if your talking about money given to the Democratic and Republican Central Committees or the National Republican/Democratic Senatorial/House Campaign Committees. The percentages there were 81 percent to Republicans and 19 percent to Democrats. Most of Enron's contributions to individuals were to Republicans in Texas. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison topped the list receiving $99,500 and Sen. Phil Gramm was second, with $97,350. A few Republicans outside of Texas such as Republican Sen. Conrad Burns, who just happens to sit on two committees planning hearings on the collapse of Enron, got as much as $23,000. The vast majority of individual contributions to people outside of Texas went to Republicans.
It doesn't seem like they got their money's worth, does it? (nmDJB
Jan 14, 2002 5:39 PM
Access andJason H
Jan 14, 2002 6:32 PM
It gave them lots of access. Lay met, a number of times, with Dick Cheney during last year's California energy crisis, at the same time the administration was formulating its energy policy. Treasury Undersecretary Peter Fisher is a personal friend of Lay's and was a large stockholder in Enron(selling of course before the collapse) and was Lay's access person at the Treasury Dept. You can bet that all the cabinet secretaries returned Lay's phone calls.
White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey worked as a consultant to Enron before moving to the White House. Lindsey and senior Dubya adviser Karl Rove, sold their Enron stock before Enron's financial collapse in December for $83 a share, compared to less than $1 now. Army Secretary Thomas White was Enron's vice chairman before assuming his Pentagon post and owned between $50 million and $100 million worth of stock, most of it sold before the collapse.
With Sen. Conrad Burns, Bailey and Gramm and Texas House members the congressional investigations will have friendly faces for them and access to where the investigation is going.
Access Access Access
What's new (and wrong) with that?DJB
Jan 15, 2002 4:00 AM
First of all, my comment was regarding any help they did or didn't get during the collapse. And I don't think they should have gotten any help.

On access, both parties fill administration post with industry types and/or contributors. The question is whether or not they are qualified for their positions. Enron was an energy company. The 'scandal' is how their books were handled. Lay and others were involved with energy policy. Makes sense to me. I'd have a problem if Enron's accountants were involved with accounting law changes though.

I'd also have a problem if the bookkeeping crap was known about when the access was given. I don't think that was the case. Do you?

As far as the sale of stock goes, are you saying that these people were given illegal insider information?

Don't get me wrong, there was probably some illegal things going on. But if there was, I don't think it extends to the government, which seems to be the point of this thread.
Access...TJeanloz
Jan 15, 2002 10:57 AM
Media people are making a pretty big deal of the fact that Ken Lay was able to pick up the phone and talk to Paul O'Neil and other key cabinet members. But let's keep this in perspective. Isn't it the job of the Secretary of Commerce to keep apprised of the situations at America's biggest corporations? At it's peak, Enron was one of the 10 largest American companies. If I'm Bill Gates or William Clay Ford, and I've got something to tell the government, I think I ought to be able to call the Secretary of Commerce.

This isn't restricted to corporate America either- I think the head of the AFL-CIO probably ought to be able to get on the horn with the Secretary of Labor, and the President of the Red Cross probably ought to be able to talk to the Secretary of Health and Human Sevices.