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Who Will Ashcroft Feel Comfortable Investigating?
January 12, 2002
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 associations

44 transportation related companies and associations

42 healthcare and pharmaceutical companies and related associations

64 agribusiness and forestry companies and agricultural trade associations

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 them.

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.

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