December 28, 2001
8:39 PM   Subscribe

A week before filing for bankruptcy protection, energy giant Enron Corp. donated $100,000 to the Democratic Party committee that helps Senate candidates, campaign finance reports show. Enron has been talked about before, so do people think this is an important sum of money, if not why is CNN covering it?
posted by rhyax (13 comments total)
You seem to think CCN covering a story gives it legitimacy. Uh huh. They are controlled by a corporation and corporations are naturally conservative organizations. (This liberal media bias think conservatives harp on is a bunch of hoo-hah). If you don't think corporations influence the news organizations they own, you're in for a shock.

$100,000 is a good sum, but nothing more shocking that sums your congressmen (I don't care where you live) has received from special interests.
posted by fleener at 9:03 PM on December 28, 2001

Here's a proposal. Have both the Democrats AND the Republicans (including Bush and his thugs) who made a little change off Enron just return it to the utility ratepayers. I wonder which party that will hurt most?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:18 PM on December 28, 2001

Ok, granted, a hundred grand gift to a political organization right before you file bankruptcy is pretty uncool.

But I'd consider it trivial compared to giving $55 million to the very folks who bankrupted the company in the first place. Not to mention the whole Enron retirement plan thing. And they certainly gave their fair share to George W. Bush, as well, though not right before they went under.

I'd guess CNN is not giving it a lot of time because in the grand scheme of corporate evilness, a mere $100,000 is just not a big deal.
posted by mragreeable at 10:34 PM on December 28, 2001

i think you missed my point, fleener, of course cnn is owned/is a corporation with their own agenda, what i'm saying is that since this doesn't seem like such a big amount to me i'm wondering why cnn would cover it at all. the interesting points to me are whether this is enough to buy off the democrats from doing more hearings about enron, or if not (which it doesn't seem like that much) why enron would bother. and further, if it's not enough to matter why is cnn covering it?
posted by rhyax at 10:49 PM on December 28, 2001

Amazing how the assuption immediately becomes "Enron is evil and must have given the 100K to the Democrats to stop hearings ..." etc., etc.

Far more likely that Enron, like most huge corporations, has many different departments that do not necessarily have a clue what the others are doing (and two weeks prior to declaring bankruptcy Enron was still doing everything in it's power to avoid it). Additionally, if the checks were written in November, it is likely that the decision-making on the donations began in August or September (if not sooner) ... large corporations don't simply write large checks as an afterthought on the spur of the moment - such things need to get cleared through various committees and departments.

There may be a number of things to critisize Enron about, but this isn't one of them - unless, that is, you consider the notion of any big company giving large sums to political campaigns is evil ... in which case, the fact that Enron's chief managed to raise 350K for Bush and the Republicans is a much bigger story.
posted by MidasMulligan at 11:17 PM on December 28, 2001

They are controlled by a corporation and corporations are naturally conservative organizations.

So if I started a company called "Woody Guthrie, Inc." (our motto: This Coporation Kills Facists. Dead.) for the set purpose of furthering liberal goals, it would, ipso facto, be a "conservative organization?" Weird.

I wonder which party that will hurt most?

I dunno. Why don't you find out and report back, rather than simply making accusations you can't/ won't back up?

. . . the fact that Enron's chief managed to raise 350K for Bush and the Republicans is a much bigger story.

How so? Did he do it as a private individual? If so, how is that a story at all in regards to this?

This comment brought to you by Rhetorical Questions, Ltd.
posted by yerfatma at 11:29 PM on December 28, 2001

" ...How so? Did he do it as a private individual? If so, how is that a story at all in regards to this? ..."

Well, presuming you're not just being an argumentative twit, and actually don't understand, I'll answer (though this seems so self-evident as to be almost insulting to explain).

Large sums of money - from individuals or corporations - does not necessarily buy results (despite cynacism, it's very hard to buy a vote on legislation) ... but it does buy access. To phone numbers several levels of secretary up from the bottom of the White House and Congressional pecking order. To private parties and events where casual conversations with elected leaders over drinks might happen. To golf outings and overseas trips on private planes.

And to the boys and girls that play in the big leagues, there isn't a seperation between work and private life. You may say "well, what he does as a private citizen has nothing to do with his role running Enron ... but c'mon, wake the hell up. Bill Gates is Microsoft. Jack Welch is (or was) GE. When the Enron Chairman personally gives 350K to Bush and the Republicans - yes of course it buys access to those phone numbers and events. What do you think he does when he is talking privately with congressfolk and the President at a party - try to get them to ease zoning laws so he can personally build a pool in his backyard for cripes sake? No - he speaks about the interests of Enron and big oil.

You may think there's a big difference between him as an individual, and him as the Chair of Enron, but he doesn't, and neither does Bush.
posted by MidasMulligan at 12:04 AM on December 29, 2001

According to the information in the cited story--

Enron corporate contributions earlier in the year:
To republicans $155.7K
To democrats $17.3K

Contributions from Enron chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay:
To republicans $250K
To democrats 0

The democrats, who seem to differ from the republicans largely in being ashamed of themselves when things like this come out, are donating the late-November $100K Enron contribution to a charity benefiting laid-off Enron workers. The republicans are apparently keeping their share of the loot. So the bottom line on the recent Enron political contributions cited in the story is

republicans $405.7K
democrats $17.3K
posted by myl at 2:37 AM on December 29, 2001

Yeah. A donation to the Democrats is probably just a diversionary tactic. Everyone knows that Enron is in the back pocket of Bush/Cheney, and visa versa.
posted by crunchland at 6:19 AM on December 29, 2001

Most corporations will donate to both sides of politics - although they believe one party will best serve their corporate interests, both are potential governments and need to be kept sweet. I don't think it's a diversionary tactic, and I doubt if they wanted to keep either payment secret. Major corporations readily admit that they pay to get a foot in the political door.

Sadly, the average person has little chance to influence policy in a democracy based on such donations - unless you've got the big bucks, keep your nose out. And the secret discussions that arise out of these financial sweeteners are inevitably aimed at ensuring that the boys' club stays in control.
posted by robcorr at 6:49 AM on December 29, 2001

In other countries, this goes by the name of corruption.
posted by muckster at 7:42 AM on December 29, 2001


What are you going to do? It's a two-party system. You have to vote for one of us!

Well, I think I'll vote for a third-party candidate.

That's right, throw your vote away!

And thus Kang was elected.
posted by fleener at 8:01 AM on December 29, 2001

don't blame me i voted for kodos.

ha, i love that episode
posted by rhyax at 11:17 AM on December 29, 2001

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