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Jeb Bush and Enron

by see material Saturday, Feb. 16, 2002 at 1:58 AM

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Joan Claybrook

Letter to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: About You and Enron

Thu Feb 14 19:38:43 2002

February 14, 2002

Letter to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: About You and Enron

By Joan Claybrook

The Honorable Jeb Bush

Office of the Governor

The Capitol

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001

Dear Governor Bush:

Florida's pension fund --for which you chair the oversight board --lost 4

million on Enron stocks and bonds in the wake of the company's collapse.

Many of the pension fund's investments were made as Enron's stock was

plummeting in value and financial problems at the company were being

publicly revealed. Investigations into the fund's losses are now being

conducted by the Florida attorney general, the Florida State Board of

Administration and a committee appointed by the state House of


Because of the conflicts of interest resulting from your strong ties to

Enron and your extensive entanglements with the company, we call for you to

recuse yourself from making any decisions or taking any actions relating to

these investigations, and from taking an active role in any lawsuits against

Enron, Arthur Andersen or other entities related to the Enron collapse. We

also call on you to refrain from taking any actions on behalf of the Board

of Administration that relate to Enron.

Your longstanding relationship with the company and its executives requires

that you step down from any potential involvement in bringing Enron to

justice. It is a state and national imperative that any wrongdoing be fully

and independently investigated and that these investigations avoid even the

appearance of conflict of interest.

We make our request because:

You have been a business partner with Enron. In 1995, you invested nearly

,000 in an Enron affiliate, Enron Liquids Pipeline, and sold your

interest 10 months later for a ,100 profit;

You appointed Walter Revell to be chairman of the Florida 2020 Energy Study

Commission, which was established to develop energy strategies for the

state. Mr. Revell is a 25-year friend of Ken Lay. The policies set forth by

the commission could have greatly benefited Enron;

In 1999, Enron subsidiary Azurix proposed a scheme under which it would help

pay for Everglades restoration in exchange for water rights. Approximately

two weeks after Enron's plan was proposed, you appointed James Garner III,

an Azurix lobbyist, to the Governor's Commission for the Everglades;

Enron has been a generous contributor to your campaign and to Florida

Republicans. Enron, its subsidiaries and its employees contributed 0,000

to Florida political campaigns between 1995 and 2001, more than 80 percent

of that going to Republicans, according to the St. Petersburg Times. And the

Florida Republican Party received at least ,500 from Enron towards your

election in 1998, state records show;

According to Florida Department of State records, you accepted nearly

,000 from Enron, its subsidiaries, and the company's accounting and law

firms, during your 1998 campaign, including ,500 directly from Enron


Ken Lay reportedly gave money to the Foundation for Florida's Future, a

think tank you founded (the foundation refuses to reveal its funders or the

amount of their gifts);

The Board of Administration's deputy executive director is Coleman

Stipanovich, brother of J.M. "Mac" Stipanovich, a Republican political

consultant and lobbyist who ran your gubernatorial campaign in 1994;

In January of this year, Richard Kinder, former Enron president and large

donor to your brother, George W. Bush, and the Republican Party, held a

fundraising event for you at his Houston home, which you attended;

Enron and its employees contributed 2,500 to your brother's 1994 and 1998

Texas gubernatorial campaigns, and another 3,800 to his presidential

campaign. Enron also gave ,500 to the Bush-Cheney Recount Fund and

0,000 to the Bush-Cheney 2001 Inaugural Fund, according to the Center for

Responsive Politics.

Other prominent officials have recused themselves from involvement in any

investigation or litigation involving the company. U.S. Attorney General

John Ashcroft did so, as did John Cornyn, attorney general for Texas. Three

federal judges have recused themselves, as has the entire U.S. Attorney's

office in Houston.

In light of the fact that other public officials have acknowledged their

conflicts and reacted accordingly, we believe that you owe the people of

Florida a complete explanation of the extent of your ties with Enron. We ask

you to:

Disclose all contacts you have had with Enron executives or agents since you

have been governor and explain the nature of those contacts;

Tell the public when you knew Enron was in financial trouble, particularly

whether you had knowledge of Enron's shaky financial condition as the state

pension fund was buying shares that were rapidly declining in value;

Explain what safeguards you put in place, or attempted to put in place when

you became governor to ensure that such dramatic pension fund losses would

not happen; and,

Tell Floridians what measures you plan to enact to ensure that such losses

do not occur again.

We look forward to your making this information available to the public.


Joan Claybrook


Public Citizen


President's View (Public Citizen News - January/February 2002)

Investigators Must Dig Deep; Explore Enron's

Shady Deals, Political Links

Blind Faith: How Deregulation and Enron's Influence Over

Government Looted Billions from Americans


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