Senator Hollings makes the case for a special council to look into the Enron affair.
February 9, 2002 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Senator Hollings makes the case for a special council to look into the Enron affair. (NY Times link). San Antonio columnist Jan Jarboe Russell argues for the same. Here's a Guardian article on the situation.
posted by Ty Webb (11 comments total)
Mmmm, do I smell a peach?
posted by fleener at 11:42 AM on February 9, 2002

Special council (sic)??? Hey - this stuff doesn't even belong in Congress, IMO. If someone broke the law, they should be investigated and prosecuted accordingly. If John Doe embezzles from his employer, Congress doesn't jump on the bandwagon -- the police, DA, and maybe FBI handles it. Congress should take notes, and consider what changes (if any) need to be made, but it's blatant attempt to get in front of any camera, any time, any where (Hollings: "cash&carry politics" soundbite) is further eroding any credibility most members have left. Congress' role, if my 8th grade Civics class memory serves, is to make the laws; the Executive branch is supposed to enforce them. Or am I just missing something here that is obvious to everyone else?
posted by davidmsc at 12:06 PM on February 9, 2002

Special council (sic)???

My fault: special counsel.

If John Doe embezzles from his employer, Congress doesn't jump on the bandwagon

Unless John Doe happens to be about as deep in bed with the current presidential administration as is possible, and unless there's evidence that John Doe received specific favors in the creation of policy.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:31 PM on February 9, 2002

ty, the enron scandal died nearly a month ago. didn't anybody tell you?
posted by lescour at 1:01 PM on February 9, 2002

I also believe the role of Congress is to act in check of the Executive branch. Lord knows they were all over the last guy's pants.

And hey, Enron is a non-starter...
posted by owillis at 1:57 PM on February 9, 2002

I also find it to be "extraordinary circumstances" when a top executive commits suicide, voluminous documents are shredded and witness after witness takes the Fifth Amendment...

Funny, Sen. Hollings didn't consider it to be "extraordinary circumstances" when any of these three things occurred during the term of the prior occupant of the White House.

And since, as Hollings admits himself, he too is in Enron's pocket (note: he fails to admit in his piece that he also took $16,960 from Arthur Andersen), why is there one iota less of a conflict of interest in his attempt to order up a special prosecutor, than in any action John Ashcroft might take? There's an argument to be made for investigating the living daylights out of Enron, but for those demands to come out of the mouth of Ernest Hollings is the height of duplicity.

But hey, I said it before on MeFi and I'll say it again: Anytime the Democrats want to blow millions on trying to take Bush down, go right ahead; I promise I won't do any whining about "wasting taxpayer dollars on a witch hunt," "the special prosecutor law should be abolished since it's being used for such blatantly political purposes" or any of the other bogus arguments the Dems used such a short time ago, and than conveniently got collective amnesia about around January 20, 2001. Go right ahead. Bring it on. If they start a full-bore investigation of Enron's supposed buying of even a single individual in the Bush administration, it's going to be fair game for every reporter in Washington to start digging up all the ignored and forgotten dirt about what the Democrats did for Enron, including Clinton himself, back in the 90s. The investigation will end up exploding in the Democrats' faces, and probably be looked back upon as one of the single biggest blunders in the history of the party. Please, by all means, launch that investigation!

posted by aaron at 2:59 PM on February 9, 2002

great aaron. i see we are in complete agreement.
posted by lescour at 6:11 PM on February 9, 2002

I agree. Let's air the dirty laundry. Bring the investigation on.

davidmsc... this page describes some of the investigatory powers of Congress. While investigations of wrongdoing are usually within the jurisdiction of the executive branch, the question has come up as to who watches the watchers. Investigative hearings by Congress involve wrongdoing by "public officials acting in their official capacity, or by private citizens whose activities may suggest the need for future legislation."
posted by bragadocchio at 7:33 PM on February 9, 2002

He's not calling for Congress to investigate. He's calling on Congress to ask the Justice Department to investigate by appointing a special counsel.
posted by dhartung at 10:20 PM on February 9, 2002

History can show that the system is corrupt in itself. Watergate, Irangate, etc

Shady deals are always around and when something comes out in the open someone needs to be skewered.
All these folks are playing by "the rules" just like in our last presidential election.
One or more of the "right" people will be prosecuted, but the important thing is to leave the system that allows all of them to do this intact.

Much will be said and compiled and published, opinions will abound as well as some certain amount of legislation, but nothing will really change, allowing these same activities to continue largely unchecked.

The foundation of this case is no different than many, many others. Corruption has been built into our system and quietly institutionalized.

Before all of your viciously keen remarks I ask you "do you trust our government (Democrat or Republican)?

Anyone got time for a quick revolution?
posted by a_green_man at 11:21 PM on February 9, 2002

dhartung... the point made by Davidmsc was questioning the role, and possible power, of Congress to investigate. I was responding to his questioning of the role of Congress, whom we normally think of as a solely legislative body. Hollings is calling for independent counsel, even though he uses the term special counsel, which is similar, but something else.

a_green_man... do you trust our government? Isn't the point of our constitution and bill of rights that it is a compact between the people and those who would represent them? That it has three branches so that two of them can keep an eye on the other? That a wide range of people are represented by state (senators) and by population (representatives)? We have two sets of legislatures mainly so that they can police each others actions. Government governs at the consent of the people. If we don't like what we are seeing, we have a number of options. One is to not vote people back into office. Another is to run for office ourselves. The third is to make as much noise as possible, and work to force some people to do the right thing.
posted by bragadocchio at 3:30 AM on February 10, 2002

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