Enron Case and Spurious George's Gang
by Smokey Sojac
Enron is Teapot Dome on a many times larger scale. A full
and impartial investigation into this rottenness, which reaches
into the Oval Office, must be launched. As the GOP (Gas, Oil
and Plutonium) tries desperately to spin side issues, it's
important to keep our eyes and voices focused on the TRUE
scandals of the Enron administration.
Enron changed from a $2 billion energy company to a $101
billion a year shell game under Kenneth Lay and his executives,
which included two members of the Bush cabinet. The switch
was facilitated by a rule change proposed by Wendy (wife of
Phil Gramm) while she was commissioner of Poppa Bush's energy
commission. Phil, as Senate Banking Committee Chairman, had
oversight over what Enron is up to. Wendy Gramm joined the
Board of Enron when Bill Clinton took office. Both Bush brothers
dumped millions in Florida and Texas public money (now lost)
into Enron in return for campaign funds, supplying seed money
to keep the swindle going. In their defense they may not have
known it WAS a swindle. If they had any hint though... Lay's
relationship with the Bush family goes back to at least 1988.
Ken Lay and Enron pumped millions into Bush's campaign, millions
more into GOP candidates (like Ashcroft). When Bush was put
in office, Enron began openly price-gouging in California,
charging $12 a million Btu's for natural gas there vs. $5
a million elsewhere. While Clinton was in office the difference
in natural gas prices between California and the rest of the
country was NEVER more than 50 cents. Bush refused time and
again to impose price caps. In May the Senate goes Democratic,
price caps are instituted and the California energy crisis
disappears. Enron's recorded profit in those months? $70 billion,
which somehow also magically disappeared by August.
The Bush administration unveiled a bogus energy plan that
called for $35 billion in subsidies to Enron and other companies.
The electrical grid portion was tailored specifically to benefit
energy trading companies like Enron. The plan was drawn up
illegally in secret by Dick Cheney and Lay and Enron had major
input to Cheney, meeting with him and his gang at least six
times. The administration is fighting a subpoena of the records
of those meetings.
Enron is a brazen swindle. They report income that doesn't
exist and fail to report debt, and have done so for at least
four years. How could the Board NOT know? Between November
2000 and August 2001, when the first signs of trouble appear,
Lay and other executives sold off every share of stock they
own, making a collective $1 billion. Meanwhile, Enron employees'
stock, which serves as their pensions, is locked in by those
executives, as the stock price plummets from $55 a share in
August to 65 cents a share by October. At least 31 Bush administration
officials held Enron stock in November, 2000. Did they sell
their stock? When and why?
Bush financial advisor Larry Lindsey came from high up in
Enron. He's listed as a CREDITOR in Enron's bankruptcy papers.
He had to know there was a swindle. (If he couldn't figure
it out, he's not qualified to be an official.) Bush's Secretary
of the Army also headed an Enron subsidiary and had to know.
Bush replaced the Chairman of the FERC because Lay didn't
like him. Lay boasted openly of this. SEC Chairman Harvey
Pitt was hand-picked by Lay for the position, due to his notorious
aversion to governmental regulation of any kind. It took two
months after the entire world knew Enron was a swindle for
the SEC to suspend trading in Enron shares - why the delay?
Ken Lay and Enron price-gouged in India with their Dabhol
power plant. The approval to build it, which was legal, came
from Bill Clinton. The blind eye to the price gouge came from
Bush's bogus "economic stimulus" plan called for a $234 million
subsidy to Enron in the form of a ten-year income tax refund.
They continued to press for this even after it was revealed
publicly that Enron was a swindle. Despite this very public
bit of diddling, the White House is now trying to claim it
took no action for Enron. It is currently actively conducting
a smear campaign against the Daschle family because Tom prevented
them from giving Enron $234 million.
In May, the administration disrupted an international effort
to crack down on tax-cheat and money-laundering havens like
the Cayman Islands. This week CBS News reported that there
are at least 600 Enron accounts salted away in the Caymans.
That's accessory to a felony by Administration officials.
Also in May, a curious executive order, Volume 66, Number
94, Docket No. ER01-1394-000, was issued. It gave Enron a
blanket waiver of regulations and approved all of the company's
securities issues from that point in time on. It is difficult
to see why routine regulatory activities should ever be relaxed
or securities issues be rubber-stamped automatically for any
legitimate company by the Federal government, which is there
to inspect and guard the public. But Enron was, at the time,
perpetrating the largest securities fraud in history. Who
had input into that order? Why was it issued at all?
It gets even better. Earlier in the week, the Bush White
House claimed they had never heard from Enron since the troubles
started. Friday the Washington Post reported that Lay spoke
personally with Commerce Secretary Evans and Treasury Secretary
Now the White House says, yeah, they spoke to Lay and that
they said they would take no action. (Other than that economic
stimulus giveaway - I guess in a multi-billion dollar theft,
$234 million does seem like nothing to some people.) We are
to understand that these two officials heard from the chairman
of a company that reported $101 billion in profit last year
that it was going belly-up, a company that was connected up
the wazoo to the enitre cabinet, and said "no kidding?" and
went about their business without mentioning anything to anybody?
The Secretary of the Treasury AND the Secretary of Commerce
hear that the investing public and thousands and thousands
of American workers are about to get a royal screwing and
they both sit around with their thumbs up their butt telling
no-one and doing nothing?
By the way, did former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin also
call the White House in August? Yes. Rubin was a private citizen
employed by Citibank, which thought it had been lending to
a legitimate company. The Enron swindle was visible only to
company insiders until October. Private citizens can advance
private interests - public servants are not supposed to. Rubin
called to ask "what would you think of." taking action on
the debt rating and ended up telling the Administration it
should do nothing about the debt rating. He never suggested
they get a $234 million subsidy, as the Administration has
been fighting to give Enron - even after the swindle was revealed.
And it gets better still.
Enron's swindle was facilitated by Accounting Giant Arthur
Andersen, which did not properly audit and shredded incriminating
documents. The guy who headed the Arthur Andersen office where
the shredding was deliberately done is D. Stephen Goddard,
Jr., a Bush Pioneer (he rounded up $100,000 in hard money
for Bush) who also funneled $238,000 in soft money to the
GOP last election.
John Ashcroft made a big show of recusing himself from the
Justice Department's Enron investigation to prove his "honesty."
But the money Ashcroft admits getting from Enron is illegal
under campaign finance laws. In fact, the GOP has spent the
past two years smearing Senator Robert Torricelli, falsely
claiming he took a donation of the sort Ashcroft actually
The guy Ashcroft handed the investigation off to, Deputy
Attorney General Larry Thompson, ALSO is in Enron's pocket.
Some idea of the desperation and guilt of this administration
can be judged by the fact that the White House has been publicly
caught in two lies in two days-one by Spurious George himself,
who ludicrously tried to claim that it was Ann Richards who
had the ties to Enron, not he.
Funnier still, Monday the Administration was trying desperately
to inflate the Pardongate scandal yet again (it had fizzled
out for the third time). Friday, asked about Enron, flack
Ari Fleisher said that the country was tired of endless investigations.
(Remember, GOP hack David Barrett has YET to wrap up the $7.3
million investigation of Henry Cisneros, for no other reason
than that Cisneros might be the Democratic candidate for governor
of Texas. Cisneros has been out of office for three years
and was found to have committed a single misdemeanor.)
Remember, Enron is a swindle that defrauded investors and
employees on behalf of a few. The question is not who took
money from Enron. It is what did they do in return? Who can
point to a single action Charles Schmuer or Sheila Jackson
Lee took on behalf of Enron that was in anyway improper?
There is plenty of evidence that the Administration put Enron's
interests ahead of the public's time and again, even after
the swindle became public knowledge. There must be a reckoning
- and it must not be sidetracked into trivia.