The Enron crooks would never have been more than petty thieves were it not for the political support they received from their fellow Texas oil buddies. They knew that, and they paid for it: Over the years, Lay and Enron gave the Bush family politicians $3 million in contributions, as well as lending the campaigning George W. a jet on at least eight occasions.There's more. Go read...
They did so because, without the deregulation of the energy industry pushed by the first President Bush, Enron would have remained a minor company without the capacity to swindle. At the time, Lay wrote a column supporting the elder Bush’s reelection by praising him as “the energy president” because “just six months after George Bush became president, he directed ... the most ambitious and sweeping energy plan ever proposed.”
Specifically, Enron benefited mightily from a key ruling by Wendy Gramm, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under George H.W. Bush, permitting Enron to trade in highly profitable energy derivatives. A mere five weeks after rendering that ruling, Gramm, the wife of then-Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), abruptly resigned to join the Enron board of directors, where she served on the company’s now-infamous see-no-evil audit committee. Secretary of State James Baker and Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher also rushed to work for Enron after their White House tenures.
Dubya first got involved with Enron’s Lay when they both worked on his daddy’s campaign, and the relationship flowered during his years as the governor of Texas. There is, in fact, a long paper trail of “Dear Ken” and “Dear George” exchanges that have come to light, thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests. The correspondence exposes the active support given by Bush to Enron’s expansion into markets ranging from Uzbekistan to Pennsylvania. As Lay wrote to Bush in a letter dated Oct. 7, 1997: “I very much appreciated your call to Gov. Tom Ridge a few days ago. I am certain that will have a positive impact on the way he and others view our proposal.”
In payback for Bush’s support, Lay became a Bush “pioneer” fundraiser, dumping in more than $2 million in contributions from himself and Enron executive funds. Lay’s influence with Bush extended well into the first year of the Bush administration, when Bush stonewalled California while it was being extorted through a manufactured “power crisis” by Enron and other energy companies to buy energy at grossly inflated prices.
The Enron boss also became a principal architect of the new Bush energy policy in the months before his downfall, completely undermining the spirit of democracy. In fact, the public has still been denied access to the six secret conversations Lay had with Vice President Dick Cheney when the vice president was quarterbacking the Bush administration’s response to the California energy crisis, which saw the prosperous state preposterously hit by rolling blackouts. Lay provided Cheney with a key memo opposing price caps that would have mightily aided California consumers.
Discipline collar...(The New Yorker, natch)
3 days ago