According to a story in the Washington Post, Jan. 21, Enron’s ties to the Bush administration run very deep. Here are a few examples.
Bush’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, attended meetings with Enron’s advisory board in 2000. Enron CEO Kenneth Lay convinced Lindsey to incorporate Enron’s energy policies into the Bush campaign. In fact, those same energy policies are the agenda of the Bush administration to date.
The influence of Enron’s Lay has permeated deeply into the Bush’s personal staff and cabinet. Involved were Vice President Richard Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft, who recused himself from any investigation of Enron, Bush’s political adviser Karl Rove, who had millions of dollars in Enron holdings, U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick, Maritime Administrator Theodore Kassinger, who was on the Enron payroll as a consultant, Thomas White, Secretary of the Army, besides being vice president of Enron had holdings of $50 miilion dollars and other Enron stock options, an Enron lobbyist Marc Racicot and Bush’s campaign adviser Ed Gillespie were sent to the Commerce Department to organize its program.
The average taxpayer, learning what deep entanglements the Bush administration has with Enron, might fully understand why Bush is so gung-ho about cutting taxes for other large conglomerate corporations. When you have the Chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission Harvey Pitt, Federal Energy Regulator Pat Wood, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, Commerce Secretary Donald Evans and Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill all receiving contributions from Enron, how much more evidence does one need to be convinced that the Bush administration was bought and paid for by Enron?
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Enron gave $1.7 million to the 2000 Bush presidential campaign. Columnist Richard Cohen of the Washington Post wrote, “Enron paid no corporate federal income taxes in four of the last five years … Board members received a refund by deducting the cost of stock options so that many millions that they deducted were turned into a refund of $278 million dollars.”
This is the height of chutzpa in the capitalist finance world, where legally they can steal millions of dollars from their employees and 401(k) holders to line their own pockets!
Here are some of the 687 comments that appeared on the internet the day that Enron announced its collapse: “Is Bush still going to try and get Enron a big tax rebate? They did pay him for it in millions of campaign contributions.”
“Bush keeps claiming a better, cleaner administration. How? He paid off Supreme Court justices with jobs for their wives or children to get himself elected. Thomas’s wife given job. Scalia son to be made a judge … Enron paid Bush and Cheney while stealing and lying to California and employees … Billions stolen.”
“Bush turned his back on California so that Enron could get away with stealing money … Bush cares nothing about suffering people.”
“The top Enron executives knew their company was about to crumble and made money using that knowledge. They should be jailed and have all of their assets divided to the employees who lost their 401(k) savings.”
“The higher echelon of corporate America appears to be composed of human leeches, who regardless of their performances in their positions, always wind up compensated in the most obscene fashion. Enron is just the latest example. The rest of us are but unimportant drones whose functions are to provide the labor, cough up the investment monies and hold the bag when all goes south … any chance that Lay will show a Samurai spirit and fall on his sword after betraying his shareholders, his workforce and his (ha ha) honor?”
While not everyone may know the extent of the Bush-Enron ties, most people know the corruption of the Bush administration.
John Gilman is a long-time contributor to the People’s Weekly World and active in Milwaukee’s Committee for Peace and Justice.