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January 11, 2002
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Welcome to Enrongate. Ashcroft and his aide David Aryes are off the Justice Department investigation which means Larry Thompson, the Deputy Attorney General, is heading it up. Thompson worked as an attorney for law firm King & Spalding, whose client list included Enron subisidiaries like Enron Global LNG, Enron Energy Services and Enron Global Markets. Check out Larry Thompson’s King & Spalding bio courtesy of the Web Archive. Apparently, some of his areas of expertise are in "white collar criminal defense matters" and "Government Investigations".
posted by raaka (60 comments total)

 
I bet Bush could go for a good, strong drink right about now.
posted by pracowity at 4:26 AM on January 11, 2002


Bush will be clear. The entire corporate way of doing business in America--esp in Texas--may wll force the govt at long last to do something about the way large lbby groups and money men control our political enterprise. If congress at long last has the guts for it.
posted by Postroad at 4:33 AM on January 11, 2002


[I bet Bush could go for a good, strong drink right about now.]

Why is that? Can anyone explain to we exactly what Bush is being accused of?
posted by revbrian at 5:12 AM on January 11, 2002


Revbrian, Enron's CEO doubled as Bush' highest campaign contributor. He was also an insider to energy meetings with Cheney that have remained "private" to everyone else (Cheney's decision). Despite, for instance, rolling blackouts in California.

If the Reps. wanted Whitewater (and Monica) investigated, I demand to know what's up with Bush being chummy to these corporate criminals.

I could dig deeper, but I won't. Let me just add another hint: Halliburton, Cheney's former employee, is on the brink of going bust as well. Hell-o?

OK, here's another one, what's up with the Carlyle group and how come some of its employees were key players in the Supreme Court case that awarded a dubious (as the Supreme Court itself pretty much recognized) victory to their party.
posted by magullo at 5:33 AM on January 11, 2002


I'm still puzzled as to why any of you think that this will result in any changes of any sort.... I think it will be more months of muddled bungling and meaningless handwringing, then...nothing.
posted by rushmc at 5:33 AM on January 11, 2002


Again I ask, what is Bush, himself, being accused of doing wrong?

I'm asking because I don't understand what Bush's part in all this is. By all means investigate ANY wrongdoing on the administrations part. I'm just wondering what the alleged wrongdoing is because nobody seems to say more than "he knew this guy" or "this guy was a campaign contributor".

If that's the sum of it, then I don't understand why we're discussing it. Has Bush (or his administration) done anything to aid Enron or these big-wigs that (appearantly) swindled their investors and employees? The NY times says the administration was asked for help and refused.

Did Bush (or his administration) try to provide political or legal cover to these people? It appears that the DOJ is investigating the company and Ashcroft (who was a benificiary of contributions as well) has recused himself from the matter. Doesn't that all seem like the right thing to do?
posted by revbrian at 5:56 AM on January 11, 2002


You guys keep playing it down. He was not "some guy he knew". He was his *biggest* campaign contributor (implications are deep) - and later he was an insider to policy making. Plus he was a crook. You take political heat not just from being corrupt, from from hanging out with criminals. I don't know if Bush will face charges or not, but he is certainly culprit of choosing the wrong backers and letting them in the White House he so wants to "honor". You betcha he wants a stiff one.
posted by magullo at 6:13 AM on January 11, 2002


[You guys keep playing it down. ]

How is asking what he's accused of, "playing it down"?
posted by revbrian at 6:14 AM on January 11, 2002


“It is now clear the White House had knowledge that Enron was likely to collapse but did nothing to try to protect innocent employees and shareholders who ultimately lost their life savings,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

Meaning the Administration protected a business against the interests of individuals—a business that is a massive contributer to the GOP and Bush.

This scandal may prove bought-and-paid legislation happens. Everybody understands that's how it works, but politicians have always been able to deny it. New laws barring it, including tight campaign finance reform, could come from this scandal. Since the Democrats need something to get at Bush they may harp on this and use it against him — meaning good legislation could come from this.

Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group met with energy executives and then issued a report saying conservation is good but the US needs more oil. The bill they sent to Congress reflected it. The transcripts have been sealed by Cheney and environmental groups were mostly shut out of the meetings.

Since Enron gave loads of cash to Republicans and has lobbyists and lawyers in almost all levels of the Republican Party it looks like private interests subverted the public good. That’s bad.

The GAO investigation and coming lawsuit deal specifically with the right of Congress to have oversight of the Executive branch. Cheney is accused of shirking his duty and the law on this count. If the GAO won the lawsuit, Congress could very well get more power (or at least clarified powers) to look into the Executive.
posted by raaka at 6:15 AM on January 11, 2002


Revbrian, the potential problem for Bush is that if he knew, based on his close relationship with Enron's CEO, that Enron was in serious trouble, he didn't do anything to help Enron's employees.

Employees had most of their 401K funds invested in Enron stock and they were not allowed to divest while Enron's stock tanked.

Bush is now asking for a review of how 401K funds are handled, but it's obviously too late for the thousands of Enron's employees whose retirement funds vanished.
posted by miguelbar at 6:21 AM on January 11, 2002


[the potential problem for Bush is that if he knew, based on his close relationship with Enron's CEO, that Enron was in serious trouble, he didn't do anything to help Enron's employees.]

Ok - I see your point. If Bush had his administration intervene wouldn't people be crying "corporate welfare" right now though?

[Since Enron gave loads of cash to Republicans and has lobbyists and lawyers in almost all levels of the Republican Party it looks like private interests subverted the public good. That’s bad.]

From what I'm finding out in my (admittedly limited) research that seems to be an oversimplification. It's not like this is a one party issue...

David Boies (Fmr Al Gore lawyer) represents Andrew S. Fastow (Enron's former chief financial officer).

Robert S. Bennett (Fmr Clinton lawyer during the Paula Jones nonsense) is Enron's lead Washington lawyer.

W. Neil Eggleston (Fmr Clinton administration White House associate counsel) represents Enron's outside directors.
posted by revbrian at 6:29 AM on January 11, 2002


I'm still asking, "How is this not a double post?" Or do anti-Bush issues never count as such?
posted by yerfatma at 6:35 AM on January 11, 2002


[Ok - I see your point. If Bush had his administration intervene wouldn't people be crying "corporate welfare" right now though? ]

Wrong argument. So far, it still is corporate welfare. The management is facing an investigation, but they have theit "hard-earned" money. Employees don't. Californians suffered an potentially unnecessary energy crisis. What do you call it when everybody but the managers suffers?
posted by magullo at 6:41 AM on January 11, 2002


I dont understand why people assume that because Enron was the largest contributor of hard and soft money to Bush jr, he and Lay have any sort of personal relationship.

Can anyone tell me specifically tell me what sort of special treatment Enron has recieved since seeking bankruptcy protection?

Another note, the Dem senator from NY (Schumer) recieved the third most money among senators from Enron.

And lastly, according to an AP story this morning, Lay tried to contact Fed chairman Greenspan as well as Bush prior to bankruptcy.

Bad business is not necessarilly another "gate" situation.
posted by Grok09 at 7:05 AM on January 11, 2002


I dont understand why people assume that because Enron was the largest contributor of hard and soft money to Bush jr, he and Lay have any sort of personal relationship.

from today's washpost article:

"The Houston Chronicle has reported that Bush conferred a series of nicknames on Enron chief executive Kenneth L. Lay, including 'Kenny Boy.'"

kenny boy. heh.
posted by saralovering at 7:09 AM on January 11, 2002


From the link in the other (empty) thread:

Enron markets electricity and natural gas, delivers energy and other physical commodities, and provides financial and risk management services to customers around the world. (emphasis mine)

Wow. Isn't this pretty much the definition of irony (or is it?)?
posted by Sinner at 7:13 AM on January 11, 2002


Magullo - What would you like to have seen the government do? How can it be corporate welfare if the government refused to help?

Can't the employees/investors sue the management if there was wrongdoing and recoup the 'ill gotten gains'?
posted by revbrian at 7:14 AM on January 11, 2002


> do you call it when everybody but the managers suffers?

Normal (as in SNAFU).
posted by jfuller at 7:18 AM on January 11, 2002


revbrain:
I don't think there is anything bush can be accused of right now, BUT it is known that he had relatively close ties with Enron and received a lot of money from them -- so its worth investigating closely to see if there was any wrong doing. I would a similar investigation (without accusation) would be called for under a dem. administration.

Maybe there is such hostility on the "antibush" side because of all the preposterous "scandals" manufactured during the clinton administration... but two wrongs don't make a right.
posted by malphigian at 7:29 AM on January 11, 2002


Revbrian-

Because lawyers who formerly represented Democratic clients now represent Enron does not make this a bi-partisan scandal.

This is significantly a one-party scandal because of the staggering amount of money donated to the Republicans as opposed to the Democrats, especially when the timing of the donations is considered.

/offtopic/
Shame on those lawyers for representing Enron! As a law student myself, I am firmly against the idea of vigorously representing either side of a dispute. Most often there is a 'right' side and a 'wrong' side to a case, and the wrong side deserves nothing in the way of representation. If you represent big tobacco, you cannot divorce yourself from the moral culpability of their actions. The same is true of these thieves in suits from Texas.
/offtopic/
posted by cleetus at 7:29 AM on January 11, 2002


Er, rev, sorry about mis-spelling your name :(
posted by malphigian at 7:30 AM on January 11, 2002


Reverend, I am an idealist. I'd like the government to represent its constituents, not to enrich itself and friends. I'd like a president who doesn't hide a DUI conviction (or a friend's massive business troubles) until it explodes at the last minute. I like people who are upfront about what they do, even when they've made a mistake. Specially when they've made a mistake. I'd like the government to act as it asks the rest of us to act. I'd like to see some decency in American politics. I am, as I said, an idealist.
posted by magullo at 7:41 AM on January 11, 2002


The pictures I saw on TV today of Bush Jr and Sr at the Houston Astrodome being all chummy with Kenny Boy sure looked like a personal relationship to me.
posted by terrapin at 7:44 AM on January 11, 2002


even if they knew the collapse was coming when lay called the cabinet officials, the right thing to do was let it go belly up. no sense repeating the idiotic mistakes propagated when the fed and friends bailed out Long Term Capital. i guess the Enron bunch may have found out that their campaign contributions may not have bought the kind of political influence they wanted, since they were left hanging.

and yeah the appearances are bad for the bush admin, but this isn't really going to hurt bush all that much if nobody finds any buried bodies during the investigation. i'd love to see it lower those approval ratings, myself, but the real chances that this will tarnish him badly are slim imo.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 7:46 AM on January 11, 2002


Jeez, cleetus, so the alleged bad guy doesn't deserve proper and thorough representation? If most often there is a right side, why even bother have a trial for anybody? We'll just string up all the people on the wrong side and save the taxpayers a lot of money.
posted by headspace at 7:47 AM on January 11, 2002


I bet Bush could go for a good, strong poll right now.
posted by alumshubby at 8:02 AM on January 11, 2002


/offtopic again/

Headspace-

My argument about representation presupposes that there will always be someone who feels opposite the way I do: either morally willing to represent the other side, believing them to be the 'right' side; or believing that all sides deserve equal representation regardless of what we know about the culpability of their actions.

My position is more of a personal statement on who I will choose to represent as a practicing lawyer.

It is all well and good to be able to argue both sides of a case; it is better to devote one's energies the morally right side. If more lawyers (and more citizens) stopped letting the law make moral judgements for them, we'd have a better society.
posted by cleetus at 8:03 AM on January 11, 2002


i'm not a bush apologist, but i think the focus should be on changing the system of executive privilege rather than on trying to impeach bush or whatever. even the WSJ calls financial contributors to the GOP "investors" as if they expect a return on investment through policy decisions by the administration and congressional legislation. i also think it's the reason why voting doesn't mean much and why most people don't do it anymore – cuz it doesn't make a difference on how responsive a "public servant" is when they're in the pocket of some interest group. like it's this kind of general erosion that undermines democracy more than anything i think. bush-enron is just a symptom.
posted by kliuless at 8:09 AM on January 11, 2002


[Reverend, I am an idealist. I'd like the government to represent its constituents, not to enrich itself and friends. ]

So would I! I'm just not seeing where government enriched itself or it's friends here. It seems government refused to enrich it's friends and is now actively pursuing them through the legal system.
posted by revbrian at 8:21 AM on January 11, 2002


[This is significantly a one-party scandal because of the staggering amount of money donated to the Republicans as opposed to the Democrats, especially when the timing of the donations is considered.]

While unfortunately a drudge link, it appears that questionable timing and contributions from Enron is not a recent development at all.
posted by revbrian at 8:28 AM on January 11, 2002


Another note, the Dem senator from NY (Schumer) recieved the third most money among senators from Enron.

Enron still gave a vastly larger amount of money to the GOP than it ever did to the Democrats, regardless of what it gave to Chuck Schumer. The company was one of the Republican Party's top contributors of the '90s, and the GOP raises more money than the Dems do in the first place.
posted by raysmj at 8:35 AM on January 11, 2002


im thinking...one term.
posted by clavdivs at 8:38 AM on January 11, 2002


Revbrian, once again, you paint a rosy picture. I'll explain it once more and then I'm done with this thread.

Enron gave money to Bush to get him to the Presidency (monetary gain for Bush). At the time, Enron was already cooking its books (monetary gain for its owners). Now that the company has given its managers substantial money (monetary gain for them) and bankrrupted the company and the rest of the employees (no money here, piss off!), half the Bush-appointed DoJ has to recuse itself due to a possible conflict of interest. Now that's what I call a picture of moral rectitude.

I am past falling into the classical left-wing compassion. If 40 million where wasted to figure out who was sucking the former president, I have no qualms in spending another 40 million figuring who is being sucked by this one.
posted by magullo at 8:45 AM on January 11, 2002


i believe the breakdown for enron contributions was 30% dem and 70% repub.

(another scary percentage: 70% of the house of of reps and 40% of the senate has at some point received contributions from enron)
posted by saralovering at 8:46 AM on January 11, 2002


This EnronGate thing is just brimming over with honor and integrity!
Seems I remember years of "renting out the Lincoln bedroom" screams over and over and over during the Clinton administration.
Seems Kenneth Lay was one of the original Lincoln bedroom renters under poppy Bush. Hmmm....wonder why the screamers never mentioned that? Must be that restoring honor and integrity thing.

How did that Dubya quote go? Something like "I've instructed all my staff to avoid even the appearance of impropriety" and "I will appoint only those who adhere to the highest moral standards."
Yeah, right! We're still waiting....

Has anyone heard from Phil Gramm, that great and moral man from Texas about his feelings on the matter? We do know he proposed and passed several pieces of deregulation legislation that were targeted specifically for Enron. What with his wife on the Board and all it looks like there's some major liability there too. Good old Texas style honor and integrity strikes again!

In comparison to this Whitewater looks more and more like just exactly what it was, to use Ari Fleischer's words, "a witch hunt." And now we have the witch hunters developing a severe case of blindness...
posted by nofundy at 9:02 AM on January 11, 2002


so this is what all that garbage about not questioning your government in this time of need was all about...
posted by mcsweetie at 9:34 AM on January 11, 2002


I pose the question again...

What would you have done differently when Enron called the administration and asked for help? Would you have bailed them out like the S&L's?

Wouldn't that have been exactly the same kind of 'favor from friends in high places' we don't want from our government?
posted by revbrian at 9:40 AM on January 11, 2002


/offtopic/
Shame on those lawyers for representing Enron! As a law student myself, I am firmly against the idea of vigorously representing either side of a dispute. /offtopic/

Here's an idea for you. Drop out of law school. You are a moron. An attorney has an ETHICAL OBLIGATION to zealously represent a client. If you think your One True Vision of Moral Right is a higher law than the ethical canons, you will never be a true attorney, you will be a moralizing bumbling fool.
posted by Outlawyr at 9:55 AM on January 11, 2002


[If you think your One True Vision of Moral Right is a higher law than the ethical canons, you will never be a true attorney, you will be a moralizing bumbling fool.]

Now, that's a little harsh. There's always room for more politicians and newspaper columnists.
posted by revbrian at 10:26 AM on January 11, 2002


revbrian, the whole issue is what happened BEFORE the company was ready to announce it had been cooking it's books. If some administration officials knew this company has been falsley reporting earnings for years, and looked the other way for contributions, then they've abused their power and chose to help their friends rather than uphold the law. Not to mention the accusations of passing legislation and tax cuts for campaign contributors.

You are conveniently focusing on the one part of this story where the Bush administration did what it should have.
posted by Neb at 11:21 AM on January 11, 2002


An attorney has an ETHICAL OBLIGATION to zealously represent a client.

Bullshit argument, because no attorney has an ethical obligation to TAKE ON a client. No one is advocating accepting a client and then "throwing" the case.

Personally, I'd like to see a lot more "bumbling fools" who don't check their ethics at the courthouse door, and less of you prostitutes.
posted by rushmc at 11:25 AM on January 11, 2002


Enron stood to gain $254 million if the GOP House stimulus bill became law

It's certainly a question of influence.

When Enron asked for help, Treasury refused. Probably a good thing, because the "bailout" implication would be huge. The question of "who knew what when" is paramount, as the inaction by Bush may have been almost as bad as "action" on Enron's behalf.
posted by owillis at 11:28 AM on January 11, 2002


[revbrian, the whole issue is what happened BEFORE the company was ready to announce it had been cooking it's books. ]

That makes sense. Has anyone alleged that the administration knew they were cooking there books and didn't tell the DOJ or SEC?

[Enron stood to gain $254 million if the GOP House stimulus bill became law]

Given Enron's net worth six months ago, I can't imagine they would have scarcely noticed 250mil. Thatnotwithstanding, I stand to gain a couple million if the lottery numbers finally go my way. It hasn't happened yet either, nor is it likely to. The house stimulus bill was dead in the water when it was passed.
posted by revbrian at 11:47 AM on January 11, 2002


"no attorney has an ethical obligation to TAKE ON a client."

I never said they did. Cleetus said (s)he is, "firmly against the idea of vigorously representing either side of a dispute". That is a patently absurd statement for a law student to make.

"Personally, I'd like to see a lot more "bumbling fools" who don't check their ethics at the courthouse door, and less of you prostitutes."

You don't know what you're talking about. We have a code of ethics that requires us to advocate zealously on behalf of our clients. It makes no sense to say we check our ethics at the courthouse door by complying with our code of ethics. And calling me a prostitute really makes no sense, since I make my living helping disabled people get their government benefits.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:00 PM on January 11, 2002


I think the point-counterpoints with rev brian and others about what the charges are and the dispute of the charges are pointless. Neither side has the information on which to truly make the charges, or the defense for that matter.

There's no way to defend or charge Bush without full knowledge of his and Cheney's personal conversations with Lay, the role fo Enron in setting energy policy, to know what was in those secret documents that were shredded?

The precedent of the Whitewater and Lewinsky matter is that there must be hearings first. I hate these rules, but now, they are the rules. Bush's own DOJ can try to investigate, but only an independent or Congressional investigation will suffice. Since there's no independent counsel law and the Repubs control the House, that falls to the Senate.

At least Bush fans can have some sigh of relief that the law is dead and he won't face a Ken Starr, ( or in his case, a David Boies.)
posted by brucec at 12:35 PM on January 11, 2002


I'm not sure I "get" the scandal, at least not yet. Assistance was asked for. Assistance was refused. Where's the scandal--at least yet? The only scandal is the campaign funding regime, which is, at least today, legal.

(for the record, I support the current adminstration's handling of Afghanistan, etc.; this doesn't mean support for anything other than, perhaps, foreign policy; certainly not in domestic or energy policy [or lack thereof])
posted by ParisParamus at 12:39 PM on January 11, 2002


The scandal, summed up, is that Enron is crooked and has been for years. During this time they were crooked, they gave campaign contributions to just about every politician they could to buy favor in their markets, get tax cuts, and have the government look the other way while they fucked everyone they could out of their money. They paid a lot of money, and have what seem to be very close ties, to the president and much of his staff.

The only things left to be determined, is exactly what laws did Enron break, and who knew about them breaking those laws (bush staffers, anderson auditors, district attorneys offices, etc).
posted by Neb at 1:17 PM on January 11, 2002


I'm with ParisParamus, I don't quite understand what the scandal is yet. It makes sense for Ashcroft et al to recuse themselves- they benefitted from contributions, so even if they had absolutely nothing else to do with the company, it could appear they'd be biased because of those contributions. Is the scandal based on what might be in the magical disappearing paperwork? Is it not unheard of for extremely large corporations to appeal to the government for aid when they're on the verge of self destructing?

I can't stand Bush and Ashcroft's domestic policies, and I'm especially not fond of their positions on various women's and gay rights issues, but I can't get all excited about wasting another couple of billion taxpayer dollars a la Whitewater/Monicagate just to give the good old boys a whuppin' for disagreeing with my politics.
posted by headspace at 1:19 PM on January 11, 2002


"Given Enron's net worth six months ago, I can't imagine they would have scarcely noticed 250mil."

Given Enron's cooking of their books, it's entirely possible they had zero net worth six months ago. Less than a year ago, this was a company that was trading at $82 per share. I see that today their stock closed at $0.67. Fundamentally, what's changed? Shareholders found out about the backroom deals to hide the losses, which have been going on for years.

Big political contributions and schmoozing with their bought-and-paid-for legislators enabled the Enron management to rape their shareholders and employees for just that much longer.

Anyone who's not suspicious of Bush's dealings with Enron, given his (and his family's) history of benefiting personally from business scandals is either burying his head in the sand or hopelessly out of touch with reality.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:58 PM on January 11, 2002


I honestly have doubts that anything illegal will be formally connected to the White House or to the Bush Cabinet. (This is not to say that I believe any of the Bush politicians are above pending or breaking the law for their own personal gain.) However, that really isn't the full point. This was covered before with Clinton's pardon for money which apparently was completely legal but very strongly unethical. The central point of this is that regardless of how legal or illegal, it certainly looks like the Bush administration is a government body that can be bought for the right price.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:52 PM on January 11, 2002


yerfamata, I asked the same question. I'd appreciate your opinion on the matter.

There's a series of investigations going on. The SEC’s investigation is about whether Enron lied in it's filings to specifically let executives get rich while their employees lost their retirement funds. If the Administration knew Enron was going bankrupt while no one else did they should've told the SEC. Who in turn would've let Enron employees sell Enron stock. Executives forced them to keep the stock while it was tanking so the price would stay artificially high when they sold it.

I totally agree it's a two party issue, revbrian, but Enron has had a long and expensive relationship with the Republican Party. Much, much more so than with the Democrats.

I mean, the three attorneys on retainer who previously defended Democrats must be recent developments and are overall pretty weak connections. In comparision, the Republicans, Bush specifically, are much more closely tied to Enron:

“Bush raised nearly $114,000 in political action committee money and individual donations from Enron during the presidential campaign, making the company one of his biggest financial supporters. In addition, Enron gave tens of thousands of dollars to Bush's two gubernatorial campaigns in Texas.

“Independent analysts show that Enron employee donated nearly $800,000 from 1999 to 2001 to Bush, members of Congress and both parties. The bulk went to GOP causes.”
ibid

“Bush's campaign received more than $74,000 from Enron executives. Among the company's directors, Lay and his wife were the biggest contributors.

“The Lays have given more than $87,000 to political campaigns since 1999 -- half of that going to the Bush campaign. ”
Enron called treasury official prior to collapse


Check out owillis' Enrongate page.

(How'd ya like that plug?)
posted by raaka at 4:02 PM on January 11, 2002


Hey, do you think while they're checking out this whole Enron thing, someone could run a little side investigation to see if GW's been sleeping around or getting high, or maybe even working on the Sabbath or something like that? I mean, America has a right to know …
posted by grrarrgh00 at 6:57 PM on January 11, 2002


raaka: booya!
posted by owillis at 9:16 PM on January 11, 2002


Cleetus said (s)he is, "firmly against the idea of vigorously representing either side of a dispute". That is a patently absurd statement for a law student to make.

I read it differently than you do. To me, he is saying that he's not willing to represent either side equally and indifferently, that rather, he wants to choose which side he believes is in the RIGHT and then defend THEM vigorously, instead of whoring out to the highest bidder with no regard to ethics or justice whatsoever.

We have a code of ethics that requires us to advocate zealously on behalf of our clients.

Yes, which merely shifts your moral responsibility to ethical client selection; it doesn't excuse you from it entirely (or shouldn't--obviously, few attorneys feel this way).
posted by rushmc at 11:53 PM on January 11, 2002


LOL, Liberals re-discover ethics after 8 long years. Talk about a fishing expedition.
1) Bush is guilty because Enron made contributions to his campaign and bought influence to help
2) Oh. wait. Enron is bankrupt and several officers are likely to go to jail for shady accounting practices. And the treasury and commerce offices refused desparate calls for help at the last minute. So much for buying influence.
3) Wait a minute! Bush didn't help out his cronies with a big bail-out package. He's going to let them go to jail just so he can see the working man take a hit. The diabolical genius! Yeah, that's the ticket. Get Daschle on the phone!

Prediction: If any wrongdoing is found to have been performed by administration members, which I doubt, there will be the immediate consensus that this is different from Monicagate, because this is about money, while Clinton's was about sex.

What this proves is that the liberal pornography is wealth. The conservative pornography is pornography. Each are puritanical prudes when it comes to their respective taboos.
posted by prodigal at 9:06 AM on January 12, 2002


"he wants to choose which side he believes is in the RIGHT and then defend THEM vigorously, instead of whoring out to the highest bidder with no regard to ethics or justice whatsoever"

So are you saying that anyone you think is evil has no right to counsel, or just that whoever represents someone you think is evil must themselves be a "whore". And how do you know who is "RIGHT" before they become your client and you hear their side of the story? Is an accusation of wrongdoing enough to taint someone such that they no longer deserve an attorney, or that an attorney must be a whore to represent that person.

My advise, turn off your TV and read a book.
posted by Outlawyr at 10:48 AM on January 12, 2002


You're missing the point, prodigal.

Enron came looking for help in October, while it's books were looking pretty good. Anyone aware of this at the time should have at least noticed a distinct fish smell. Thus: did the administration hide illegal activity it was aware of? This is the least of the legal questions, even.
posted by skyline at 10:53 AM on January 12, 2002


skyline,

I don't think that's the way it plays out. Under your scenario, Ken Lay, or someone from Enron, called up someone in the government and said something to the effect "We've been cooking the books, doing all kinds of illegal stuff, but it's about to blow up. Do ya think W. can help out?" More likely is that Enron was looking for a bailout under a guise other than blatantly admitting illegal actions. In which case, no one in the administration knew about the impending implosion.
posted by prodigal at 6:00 PM on January 12, 2002


Except, Cheney and Bush are nothing if not businessmen. An old friend calls them up and says that his seemingly-fine company is about to collapse. It would take all of two seconds for them to put two and two together.

I can see the look Cheney gave Lay from across the table when he asked for the bailout. I can just see it. At the very least it was clear that Enron was engaged in some very, very slick and unwholesome business practices. But deep down inside, they must have known. How could they not?

Personally, I almost wish that we could just ignore the Bush connection and slaughter Lay, because clearly he was Primus Scumbaggicus here. I would be very surprised if Lay doesn't skip town before the politics of this matter get going, and that's a bit of a tradgedy.
posted by Ptrin at 7:40 PM on January 12, 2002




bush is not personally under any *obligation* to help Enron's employees. he's not a director of the company. he's not an exec. he's not a turnaround artist employed by the company. the fact that he's friends with ken lay doesn't mean he's somehow indebted to enron's shareholders. the fact that he's President of the United States does't make him indebted to Enron's shareholders (as Enron shareholders) either.

the fact that he has a relationship with Lay is hardly surprising given Enron's [former] importance in their industry, but it hardly makes him an accomplice to fraudulent reporting. bush has a relationship w/ several CEOs of large companies and has been privy to several 'closed' meetings, as would Gore have been if he were in the White House now. if Bush did know Enron was headed for bankruptcy, it also doesn't necessarily mean he knew their reporting was false. anyone that's had to deal w/ GAAP reporting in public companies will tell you there are multiple ways to account for certain items and unless Bush was personnally present during the auditing and had a sophisticated understanding of GAAP practices, he wouldn't know whether the reported numbers matched the actuals even if he knew the company was doing badly and the reported financials looked okay.





posted by lizs at 11:29 PM on January 12, 2002


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