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An Answered Prayer? A Quid Pro Quo?
January 26, 2002
by Teresa Simon-Noble

The cold world of finances--the science of money management, banking, investments, credit, funds--has, to my father's heartache and my friends' gentle mockery, never been my wizardry. I have never been skilled at understanding said science much less at acquiring an interest for following it, or for learning about it.

Contrary to my father's interest in, and understanding of, the anesthetizing numbers, I do understand human dynamics in all of its hues, levels of depth, range of emotions and its, sometimes, shallowness.

So it has been no surprise to my friends, my husband, or my father, that most articles written about Kenneth Lay, Enron, and the Andersen Accounting Firm--with their telling of mostly cold, hard, mathematical facts, have not peaked my interest--that is, until a few days ago when an article entitled "Kenny Boy and I", written by Ken Justice and Richard Keil for the internet site, and reprinted by, really got my attention.

In their article, the authors state:

The bulk of Lay's contributions, more than $300,000 came as soft money to the Republican Party. About 60 percent of that moved in one day. The Republican National Committee received $250,000 April 28, 2000, one day after the Senate Energy Committee, then under Republican control--announced its intent to craft an energy deregulation bill.

Although the article continues to state, "Enron officials have said that the time [of Lay's contribution] was a coincidence," I have to say, Whoa!

As a practicing Catholic, I know that we Catholics like to give something extra to the collection plate when a prayer has been granted,or a door has been opened, or a weight has been taken off our shoulders, or we have been the recipients of any special blessings from God. We know that God is never in the business of Quid Pro Quos. We humans never call it a Quid Pro Quo. We call it Expressing Our gratitude, which brings me to my point of interest.

Was the announced intent of the Republican controlled Senate Energy Committee, to craft an Energy Deregulation Bill, an answer to any direct, or indirect prayers, by Kenneth Lay, for such a Deregulation Bill to the Powers that Be?

Therefore, was the $250,000 gift of soft money on April 28, 2000, to the Republican Party a mere "coincidence" as Enron officials have said? Was it an Act of Grateful Giving? Was it, in any way, a Quid Pro Quo: a giving of something in exchange for something?

What was it that the Republicans liked to say during their years of the Clinton Witch Hunt? "If it Smells like a Duck, and Quacks like a Duck, and Walks like a Duck ... It is a Duck!?" I think I remember seeing and hearing Senator Lott uttering those precise words on television, a time or two, during those dark days of Republican Witch Hunt.

Well, gues what! It Smells like a Duck. It Quacks like a Duck, and it Walks like a Duck!

Then, I wonder too, what is one to make of that matter of disproportionate giving, also reported by Keil and Justice in their article, wherein they state that Lay and the Enron Corporation, having showered the bulk of their generous giving on Republican Candidates, including George W. Bush and on the Republican Party, also gave $42,750 to Ken Betsen, Democrat of Texas, $38,000 to Sheila Jackson-Le and $9,000 to John Dingell, the Senior Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Is one to think of that kind of giving to the Democrats as a Preventive Measure? A calculated dirtying up of the Democrats' coffers? A way of rendering them tongue-tied should all hell break loose, and mud, and dirt, and blame spill out? Is one to think of it as a prayer that some of it spill over unto the "stained" Democrats so that those Pontious Pilate like souls could wash their hands off on them as George W. Bush did on Ann Richards?

Ah! the very Light and the Very Dark of the human soul and the motivations that lay behind them. That indeed is what peaks my interest...and lots of times that is indeed where the stories behind cold, hard numbers begin to unravel.

Teresa Simon-Noble is a freelance writer. She has written for has also worked in the mental health field for the last eighteen years.

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