Originally uploaded by Bob King.
Thanks to the Recovering Liberal
I have little left to say about this, as he's said everything I would have (and much I didn't know, or hadn't thought of.)
When it all came apart, Enron had nearly bankrupted the State of California, caused their stockholders to lose virtually all of their investments and destroyed the pensions of their employees. And what was it all for? Greed, the thing that Gordon Gecko told us was good.
As it turns out greed is not nearly as good as Gordon Gecko thought, and just as he left the scene in handcuffs at the end of “Wall Street”, so did Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling the two top guys at Enron eventually take the fall for their misdeeds. Yesterday, they were both convicted of all six counts against them. Their defense seemed to be based on their claim that they had no idea what was going on in the company that they headed. The jury didn’t buy their line of bull.
The question is, exactly how long will their sentences be? If the sentences given to former Tyco International Ltd. executives L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark H. Swartz of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison are to be considered as a benchmark, then Lay and Skilling should be spending a great deal of time worrying about whether or not the guy with the tattoos and the pierced nipples in the next cell thinks that they’re a suitable replacement for his last bitch.
And we must never forget that all of this took place in the environment created by Reagan but brought to its Zenith by George W. Bush, a man who never saw a tax that he didn’t want cut for rich guys.
Why this matters:
John Nichols does a kick ass job of running this down. Five years later, here’s a summary of why Enron matters:
Lay and Enron paid:
$ 122,500.00 — Bush Gubernatorial Campaign
$ 50,000.00 — 1999 Inagural Party
$ 550,025.00 — 2000 Presidential Campaign
$ 400,000.00 — Republican hard and soft money funds
$1,500,000.00 — GOP soft money fund
$ 5,000.00 — Florida recount fight
$ 300,000.00 — Bush Cheney Inagural Party
Lay cashed in even before Bush was sworn in as president, entering into the inner circles of the new administration and using the access he had paid for to craft its agenda on the issues that mattered most to Enron.
Bush took good care of his contributor-in-chief, appointing the Enron founder as one of five members of the elite "Energy Department Transition Team," which set the stage for the Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force and administration policies designed to benefit corporations such as Enron. A report on "Bush Administration Contacts with Enron," compiled at the request of Congressman Henry Waxman, D-California, by the minority staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, found evidence of at least 112 contacts between Enron and White House or other Administration officials during the month prior to the corporation's very-public collapse in late 2001. At least 40 of those contacts involved top White House officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, presidential advisor Karl Rove, White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey, White House personnel director Clay Johnson III, and White House energy task force director Andrew D. Lundquist.
tag: ken lay, energy policy, gas prices, politics, punishment, george w. bush, ethics, bush cronies, cronyism, corruption