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Greens Urge Investigation of Bush & Enron Ties

by USGP Media Team Tuesday, Jan. 08, 2002 at 10:12 AM

GREENS URGE CONGRESS TO INVESTIGATE BUSH TIES WITH ENRON, CITING POSSIBLE WHITE HOUSE AND CORPORATE COLLUSION

errorTHE GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES

MEDIA RELEASE
For immediate release:
Monday, January 7, 2002

Contacts:
Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator, 207-326-4576,
nallen@acadia.net
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624,
scottmclarty@yahoo.com

GREENS URGE CONGRESS TO INVESTIGATE BUSH TIES
WITH ENRON, CITING POSSIBLE WHITE HOUSE AND
CORPORATE COLLUSION


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Leaders in the Green Party of
the United States urge Congress to extend its
investigation of Enron to the company's ties to
the Bush administration, in the wake of
revelations that Enron cheated employees and
misled energy consumers and investors as the
company went bankrupt in late 2001.


"Enron represents the exercise of corporate power
at its worst," said Anita Rios, a member of the
party's national steering committee and an Ohio
Green activist. "On one hand, President Bush and
his advisors and supporters preach privatization
of Social Security and converting it into
personal investment in Wall Street securities.
On the other hand, his leading corporate backer,
Enron, allegedly bilked its own employees out of
their invested retirement money and defrauded
investors."


As the Houston-based energy company collapsed in
2001, Enron's employees and retirees with 401K
plans, who had been prohibited from selling their
Enron stock, lost their life savings. At the
same time, the upper hierarchy of company
officials dumped about $1 billion of their own
stock as Enron filed for bankruptcy on December
2, 2001.


"Advisors to President Bush who have connections
with Enron have helped engineer economic policy,
based on the principle that deregulation, tax
breaks, tort reform and other handouts for
wealthy citizens and corporations are good for
America," said Ben Manski, a Wisconsin Green who
is also a steering committee member. "It's more
than a case of undue influence from energy
lobbies over the White House. With the Bush
presidency, the petrochemical corporations run
the White House."


Greens cite the following reasons for expanding
the investigation by the Senate's governmental
affairs committee:


*** Enron chairman Ken Lay -- President Bush's
principle financial backer since he first went
into politics -- and Enron have donated $2
million to George W. Bush since 1993; a company
memo in 2000 shows that Enron pressured employees
to donate heavily to the Bush campaign. Enron
donated more than any other energy firm to the
Bush campaign. Mr. Lay's wife donated $100,000
for Bush Inauguration festivities. Mr. Lay was
the only energy executive to meet alone with Vice
President Dick Cheney while the latter was
drawing up a new national energy policy in
secret. According to a New York Times article in
May 2001, Mr. Lay "had access to the team writing
the White House's energy report, which embraces
several initiatives and issues dear to Enron."
(Mr. Lay also sits on the board of directors of
pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, along with
President Bush's father.)


*** Karl Rove, Bush's top political strategist,
sold over $60,000 (perhaps as much as $250,000)
in Enron stock in 2001 after exposure for
conflict of interest. Mr. Rove and Mr. Lay are
known to have frequently discussed energy policy.
Enron paid Lawrence B. Lindsay, President Bush's
top economic adviser, $50,000 in consulting fees
in 2000. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick
went straight from Enron's payroll to his federal
job; Army Secretary Thomas White Jr. is a former
Enron executive and has held an estimated
$50-$100 million in Enron stock.


*** Enron, a power broker in natural gas,
wholesale electricity, water, and other needs and
services, has lobbied extensively for utility
deregulation, especially the right to price-gouge
customers and to profit from the volubility of
energy stocks. The California legislature is
currently investigating whether Enron and other
companies deliberately manipulated the state's
electricity supply during the recent California
energy crisis in order to drive up prices.


*** Enron persuaded Texas Governor Bush to exempt
energy firms from regulation, and to corral
support for export credit agencies that would
ensure financial handouts and bailouts when U.S.
companies undertake risky international projects
in developing nations.


*** According to Enron investigator Senator Carl
Levin, Enron engaged in a "massive shell game
with multiple layers of conflicts of interest.
One such conflict which apparently triggered the
collapse was the fact that debt was transferred
to paper partnerships in which Enron officials
had personal financial interests to make Enron
look financially better." The accounting firm
Arthur Anderson may have played a role in
concealing such practices during audits. The
Green Party insists that the public also deserves
to know how much Bush Administration officials
may have known about these improprieties.


"All Americans should be outraged at President
Bush's disdain for executive accountability,"
said Tom Sevigny of Connecticut, another steering
committee member.


"The President's Enron connections, his refusal
to comply with the General Accounting Office's
demand for information on how the administration
crafted its Energy Plan, his invocation of
executive privilege to block a congressional
subpoena necessary to investigate FBI abuses, his
decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-ballistic
Missile Treaty without consulting Congress, his
pressure on Congress to grant the President 'Fast
Track' authority to determine trade policy with
no Congressional or public oversight, the gutting
of constitutional protections by Attorney General
John Ashcroft -- these are attacks on the checks
and balances that are supposed to make the U.S. a
democracy. What's equally shameful is the
willingness of many Republicans and Democrats to
indulge this power grab."


Since 1990, Enron has made $5.8 million in
contributions to both Republican and Democratic
politicians, according to the Center for
Responsive Politics.



MORE INFORMATION


The Green Party of the United States
http://gpus.org http://www.greenpartyus.org



END
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