Will Ashcroft Feel Comfortable Investigating?
by Ted Westervelt
Despite thousands of lost jobs, sixty billion dollars of
lost stockholder value, and allegations of falsified financial
reports and price fixing on a monumental scale, United States
Attorney General John Ashcroft has recused himself from any
investigation on mega-energy trader Enron. The highest law
enforcement official in the land will not participate in investigation
into criminal allegations surrounding the largest bankruptcy
in American history since they were "contributors to his campaign".
Using the same criteria, who else would be immune from his
direct participation in any potential investigation?
According to the Center for Responsive Politics website www.tray.com
a list of all other people and companies that the Attorney
General would deem himself unfit to participate in investigations
on would include:
5 banking, finance and insurance companies, and
related trade associations (who have hundreds of individual
and corporate members)
69 oil and mining companies and related associations with
hundreds of corporate members.
69 retail businesses and related associations
61 telecommunications and hi-tech companies, and related
44 transportation related companies and associations
42 healthcare and pharmaceutical companies and related associations
64 agribusiness and forestry companies and agricultural
37 construction firms and related real estate trade associations
42 heavy manufacturing firms and related trade associations
37 law firms with tens of thousands of clients
14 aerospace and defense firms
50 sitting and former elected officials
over 5000 individual donors who made personal contributions
- many of whom are corporate or association executives
This list does not include contributors to his political
action committee, Spirit of America or soft money contributors.
It only includes contributions to his campaign for reelection
to the US Senate made between 1999 and 2000. Ashcroft has
been raising money for his elections since 1993.
The end result is that there are thousands (if you include
related organizations, tens of thousands) of people and companies
who, using Ashcroft's own criteria in the Enron case, are
immune from the direct involvement of the Attorney General
of the United States should any investigation be brought against
That's a pretty good deal, and should free up plenty of time
on his schedule - unless, of course, there are reasons beyond
political contributions that Ashcroft wants to avoid any involvement
in the Enron case.
If so, I'd like to hear them.