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ENRON Was Definitely Bi-Partisan

 
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Mike
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:46 pm    Post subject: ENRON Was Definitely Bi-Partisan Reply with quote

Quote:
Enron Also Courted Democrats
Chairman Pushed Firm's Agenda With Clinton White House

By Dan Morgan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 13, 2002; Page A01

Democrats are savoring the chance to use embattled Enron Corp.'s Republican ties to embarrass the Bush administration at upcoming congressional hearings. But Republicans might turn the tables, to some extent at least, because Enron has courted and supported prominent Democrats as well.

According to internal Enron documents and the recollections of former employees, Chairman Kenneth L. Lay had the ear of top Democrats in the 1980s and '90s. He and his colleagues used that access to promote the company's interests with the Clinton administration and key congressional Democrats.


In a White House meeting in August 1997, for example, Lay urged President Clinton and Vice President Gore to back a "market-based" approach to the problem of global warming -- a strategy that a later Enron memo makes clear would be "good for Enron stock."

The following February, Lay met with Energy Secretary Federico Peņa to urge White House action on electricity legislation favored by Enron. Peņa "suggested that President Clinton might be motivated [to act] by some key contacts from important constituents," according to another Enron memo.

Taking the cue, Lay, one of 25 business executives on Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development, wrote to the president the same day.

Lay and other Enron executives showed a clear preference for Republicans in their political giving. Lay personally gave GOP organizations $325,000 during the 2000 campaign. But the company itself was often more evenhanded.

The corporation contributed $532,000 in unregulated "soft money" to Democratic coffers during the 2000 election, only slightly less than the $623,000 that went to GOP groups, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, a Washington research group. Enron's political action committee also gave $10,000 to the New Democrat Network, which was co-founded by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.). Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee that year, now chairs the Senate Government Affairs Committee, which is leading an inquiry into Enron's collapse.

Several senior Enron officials spent election night at Vice President Gore's headquarters in Nashville.

The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that Republicans received 73 percent of total donations from Enron, its executives and its employees over the past 12 years. Still, many of the congressional members soon to investigate Enron -- Democrats as well as Republicans -- have enjoyed the company's largess. Enron or its executives have given money to nearly half of all current House members, and to almost three-quarters of the senators, according to groups monitoring political donations.

The company backed Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in his successful 1998 campaign to oust Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato. Schumer's views on electricity deregulation dovetailed closely with Enron's. Two years later Schumer, who has advocated deregulation as a way of reducing New York state's high power costs, co-authored a bill to restructure electricity markets along lines favored by Enron.

Enron also has supported Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), whose state is traversed by a major east-west Enron gas pipeline.

Former employees say Lay's friendships with other Democrats were based as much on rapport as pragmatism. This group includes former senator Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), whose brief 1992 presidential bid had Lay's backing, and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), with whom Lay served on the Eli Lilly Co. board of directors in the 1990s.

He donated to the 1994 campaign of Texas Gov. Ann Richards, a Democrat, and served on her business council. And it was a Democrat, former treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin, who called a Treasury official last Nov. 8 to inquire about Enron's situation shortly before it collapsed.

As Enron transformed itself from an old-line gas pipeline company into an innovative, risk-taking trader of gas, electricity and more exotic derivatives in the early 1990s, it needed both Democrats and Republicans to help remove regulatory obstacles.

"Ken Lay would write letters and pick up the phone to call whoever was needed, and the party didn't matter that much," said one former employee.

In 1992, a Democratic-controlled Congress approved a major energy bill that set the stage for a new wholesale electricity marketplace. Trading companies such as Enron could use the transmission lines of regulated utility companies to sell blocs of electricity to private customers.

In 1994, the Washington-based Export-Import Bank approved a $302 million loan to promote Enron's investment in a power plant in Dabhol, India. According to a 1997 article in Time magazine, Clinton took a personal interest in the project, deputizing his chief of staff, Thomas "Mack" McLarty III, to monitor it. McLarty later became a paid adviser to Enron.

A McLarty aide explained yesterday that the White House involvement was part of a broader administration effort to help U.S. companies take advantage of new opportunities abroad.

In 1996, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, stocked with Clinton appointees, helped Enron with a series of orders that weakened the monopoly of nuclear and coal-burning utilities. In July of that year, Enron gave $100,000 to the Democratic Party.

The Clinton administration's interest in an international agreement to combat global warming also dovetailed with Enron's business plans. Enron officials envisioned the company at the center of a new trading system, in which industries worldwide could buy and sell credits to emit carbon dioxide as part of a strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. Such a system would curtail the use of inefficient coal-fired power plants that emitted large amounts of carbon dioxide, while encouraging new investments in gas-fired plants and pipelines -- precisely Enron's line of business.

But the effort faced powerful opposition from automakers, oil companies and utilities. In early 1997 the Senate unanimously instructed the administration not to agree to any carbon-reducing strategy that would harm the U.S. economy.

On Aug. 4, 1997, Lay and seven other energy executives met with Clinton, Gore, Rubin and other top officials at the White House to discuss the U.S. position at the upcoming conference on global warming in Kyoto, Japan. Lay, in a memo to Enron employees, said there was broad consensus in favor of an emissions-trading system.

Enron officials later expressed elation at the results of the Kyoto conference. An internal memo said the Kyoto agreement, if implemented, would "do more to promote Enron's business than almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States."

At Lay's meeting with Peņa on Feb. 20, 1998, he spoke of restructuring the U.S. electricity market in ways that would benefit Enron. Lay pressed the administration to propose legislation that would assert federal authority over a national electricity market.

According to a company version of the meeting, Lay and Peņa agreed that a go-slow approach to deregulation, advocated by Senate Energy Committee Chairman Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska), was unacceptable. Peņa asked Enron officials to keep Energy Department staffers posted on developments in Congress, and solicited comments on the administration's draft of its Comprehensive National Energy Strategy, an Enron document said. Lay felt the draft was "headed in the right direction" except for a few points, the document said.

The 2000 presidential election posed a dilemma for the company, sources say. While Lay supported George W. Bush, some officials in Enron's Houston and Washington offices backed Gore and Lieberman. Lay personally contributed $325,000 in soft money to GOP campaign organizations that year, and gave no soft money to Democratic groups. After the election, Lay chipped in $100,000 to the Bush inaugural festivities.

On the eve of the 2000 election, Enron hired a Democratic official from the Treasury Department to run the company's Washington office. Sources say the move infuriated GOP House leaders, who retaliated by shutting Enron representatives out of several key strategy meetings on electricity legislation.

Hoping to return to the GOP's good graces, the company in April 2001 hired the Washington lobbying firm of Quinn & Gillespie. Its senior partner, Ed Gillespie, had been a top campaign adviser to the new president, Bush.

For the first half of the year, the firm collected $525,000 in fees from Enron, a hefty sum but well worth it, according to a former Enron employee.

"It was Eddie [Gillespie], not Ken Lay, who got us to people in the White House and Congress," the employee said.





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Tex
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Joined: 13 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:09 am    Post subject: Re: ENRON Was Definitely Bi-Partisan Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
Quote:
Enron Also Courted Democrats
Chairman Pushed Firm's Agenda With Clinton White House

By Dan Morgan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 13, 2002; Page A01

Democrats are savoring the chance to use embattled Enron Corp.'s Republican ties to embarrass the Bush administration at upcoming congressional hearings. But Republicans might turn the tables, to some extent at least, because Enron has courted and supported prominent Democrats as well.

According to internal Enron documents and the recollections of former employees, Chairman Kenneth L. Lay had the ear of top Democrats in the 1980s and '90s. He and his colleagues used that access to promote the company's interests with the Clinton administration and key congressional Democrats.


In a White House meeting in August 1997, for example, Lay urged President Clinton and Vice President Gore to back a "market-based" approach to the problem of global warming -- a strategy that a later Enron memo makes clear would be "good for Enron stock."

The following February, Lay met with Energy Secretary Federico Peņa to urge White House action on electricity legislation favored by Enron. Peņa "suggested that President Clinton might be motivated [to act] by some key contacts from important constituents," according to another Enron memo.

Taking the cue, Lay, one of 25 business executives on Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development, wrote to the president the same day.

Lay and other Enron executives showed a clear preference for Republicans in their political giving. Lay personally gave GOP organizations $325,000 during the 2000 campaign. But the company itself was often more evenhanded.

The corporation contributed $532,000 in unregulated "soft money" to Democratic coffers during the 2000 election, only slightly less than the $623,000 that went to GOP groups, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, a Washington research group. Enron's political action committee also gave $10,000 to the New Democrat Network, which was co-founded by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.). Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee that year, now chairs the Senate Government Affairs Committee, which is leading an inquiry into Enron's collapse.

Several senior Enron officials spent election night at Vice President Gore's headquarters in Nashville.

The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that Republicans received 73 percent of total donations from Enron, its executives and its employees over the past 12 years. Still, many of the congressional members soon to investigate Enron -- Democrats as well as Republicans -- have enjoyed the company's largess. Enron or its executives have given money to nearly half of all current House members, and to almost three-quarters of the senators, according to groups monitoring political donations.

The company backed Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in his successful 1998 campaign to oust Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato. Schumer's views on electricity deregulation dovetailed closely with Enron's. Two years later Schumer, who has advocated deregulation as a way of reducing New York state's high power costs, co-authored a bill to restructure electricity markets along lines favored by Enron.

Enron also has supported Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), whose state is traversed by a major east-west Enron gas pipeline.

Former employees say Lay's friendships with other Democrats were based as much on rapport as pragmatism. This group includes former senator Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), whose brief 1992 presidential bid had Lay's backing, and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), with whom Lay served on the Eli Lilly Co. board of directors in the 1990s.

He donated to the 1994 campaign of Texas Gov. Ann Richards, a Democrat, and served on her business council. And it was a Democrat, former treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin, who called a Treasury official last Nov. 8 to inquire about Enron's situation shortly before it collapsed.

As Enron transformed itself from an old-line gas pipeline company into an innovative, risk-taking trader of gas, electricity and more exotic derivatives in the early 1990s, it needed both Democrats and Republicans to help remove regulatory obstacles.

"Ken Lay would write letters and pick up the phone to call whoever was needed, and the party didn't matter that much," said one former employee.

In 1992, a Democratic-controlled Congress approved a major energy bill that set the stage for a new wholesale electricity marketplace. Trading companies such as Enron could use the transmission lines of regulated utility companies to sell blocs of electricity to private customers.

In 1994, the Washington-based Export-Import Bank approved a $302 million loan to promote Enron's investment in a power plant in Dabhol, India. According to a 1997 article in Time magazine, Clinton took a personal interest in the project, deputizing his chief of staff, Thomas "Mack" McLarty III, to monitor it. McLarty later became a paid adviser to Enron.

A McLarty aide explained yesterday that the White House involvement was part of a broader administration effort to help U.S. companies take advantage of new opportunities abroad.

In 1996, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, stocked with Clinton appointees, helped Enron with a series of orders that weakened the monopoly of nuclear and coal-burning utilities. In July of that year, Enron gave $100,000 to the Democratic Party.

The Clinton administration's interest in an international agreement to combat global warming also dovetailed with Enron's business plans. Enron officials envisioned the company at the center of a new trading system, in which industries worldwide could buy and sell credits to emit carbon dioxide as part of a strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. Such a system would curtail the use of inefficient coal-fired power plants that emitted large amounts of carbon dioxide, while encouraging new investments in gas-fired plants and pipelines -- precisely Enron's line of business.

But the effort faced powerful opposition from automakers, oil companies and utilities. In early 1997 the Senate unanimously instructed the administration not to agree to any carbon-reducing strategy that would harm the U.S. economy.

On Aug. 4, 1997, Lay and seven other energy executives met with Clinton, Gore, Rubin and other top officials at the White House to discuss the U.S. position at the upcoming conference on global warming in Kyoto, Japan. Lay, in a memo to Enron employees, said there was broad consensus in favor of an emissions-trading system.

Enron officials later expressed elation at the results of the Kyoto conference. An internal memo said the Kyoto agreement, if implemented, would "do more to promote Enron's business than almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States."

At Lay's meeting with Peņa on Feb. 20, 1998, he spoke of restructuring the U.S. electricity market in ways that would benefit Enron. Lay pressed the administration to propose legislation that would assert federal authority over a national electricity market.

According to a company version of the meeting, Lay and Peņa agreed that a go-slow approach to deregulation, advocated by Senate Energy Committee Chairman Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska), was unacceptable. Peņa asked Enron officials to keep Energy Department staffers posted on developments in Congress, and solicited comments on the administration's draft of its Comprehensive National Energy Strategy, an Enron document said. Lay felt the draft was "headed in the right direction" except for a few points, the document said.

The 2000 presidential election posed a dilemma for the company, sources say. While Lay supported George W. Bush, some officials in Enron's Houston and Washington offices backed Gore and Lieberman. Lay personally contributed $325,000 in soft money to GOP campaign organizations that year, and gave no soft money to Democratic groups. After the election, Lay chipped in $100,000 to the Bush inaugural festivities.

On the eve of the 2000 election, Enron hired a Democratic official from the Treasury Department to run the company's Washington office. Sources say the move infuriated GOP House leaders, who retaliated by shutting Enron representatives out of several key strategy meetings on electricity legislation.

Hoping to return to the GOP's good graces, the company in April 2001 hired the Washington lobbying firm of Quinn & Gillespie. Its senior partner, Ed Gillespie, had been a top campaign adviser to the new president, Bush.

For the first half of the year, the firm collected $525,000 in fees from Enron, a hefty sum but well worth it, according to a former Enron employee.

"It was Eddie [Gillespie], not Ken Lay, who got us to people in the White House and Congress," the employee said.





I agree it was bipartisan in a lot of ways. It really didn't help the republican brand that Phill Gramm's (r) was on their board.

Big money will put either party on their payroll if they think it will help them. You can not break corruption into just republican or democrat. They both feed at that trough.

It is this "corporatism" that is a real problem in our politics.

Are you going to say I am anti business because of this statement?


Tex


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