Ken Lay - Guilty, George Bush - Guilty

Discussion in 'Politics' started by snooptrader, May 29, 2006.

  1. John Nichols
    Thu May 25, 2:07 PM ET

    The Nation -- The man who paid many of the biggest bills for George Bush's political ascent, Enron founder Kenneth Lay, has been found guilty of conspiracy and fraud almost five years after his dirty dealings created the greatest corporate scandal in what will be remembered as an era of corporate crime.

    On the sixth day of deliberations following the conclusion of a long-delayed federal trial, a Houston jury found Lay guilty on six counts of fraud and conspiracy. In a separate decision, US District Judge Sim Lake ruled that Lay was guilty of four counts of fraud and making false statements.

    The same jury that convicted Lay found Enron's former chief executive, Jeffrey Skilling, guilty on 19 counts of fraud, conspiracy, making false statements and engaging in insider trading.

    Lay, who President Bush affectionately referred to as "Kenny-boy" when the two forged an alliance in the 1990s to advance Bush's political ambitions and Lay's business prospects, contributed $122,500 to Bush's gubernatorial campaigns in Texas. Lay would later explain to a PBS "Frontline" interviewer that, though he had worked closely with former Texas Governor Ann Richards, the Democrat incumbent who Bush challenged in 1994, he backed the Republican because "I was very close to George W."

    Needless to say, once Bush became governor, Lay got his phone calls returned. A report issued by Public Citizen in February, 2001, months before the Enron scandal broke, identified Lay as "a long-time Bush family friend and an architect of Bush's policies on electricity deregulation, taxes and tort reform while Bush was Texas governor."

    No wonder Lay had Enron give $50,000 to pay for Bush's second inaugural party in Austin in 1999 -- a showcase event that was organized by Karl Rove and others to help the Texas governor step onto the national political stage.

    After Bush gave Enron exactly what it wanted in 1999, by signing legislation that deregulated the state's electrical markets, Lay knew he had found his candidate for president.

    When Bush opened his campaign, Lay opened the cash spigots.

    As a "Bush Pioneer" in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election, Lay was a key member of the Bush campaign's fund-raising inner circle. Under Lay's leadership, Enron ultimately gave Bush $550,025, making the corporation the Texan's No. 1 career patron at the time the 2000 election campaign began, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Lay personally pumped almost $400,000 into Republican hard- and soft-money funds, while Enron slipped another $1.5 million into the GOP's soft-money cesspool.

    But that was just the beginning. Lay sent a letter to Enron executives urging them to contribute to Bush's campaign. More than 100 of them -- including Skilling, a major Bush giver since 1993, when he cut his first $5,000 check to GW's gubernatorial campaign -- did just that. Dozens of spouses wrote, including "homemaker" and frequent $10,000 donor Linda Lay, gave as well, making the Enron "family" a prime source of the money that gave Bush his early advantage over Republican rivals such as Arizona Senator John McCain.

    All told, it is estimated that, over the years prior the company's bankruptcy, Lay, his company and its employees contributed close to $2 million to fund George W. Bush's political rise.

    Lay found other ways to help, as well. He put Enron's corporate jets at the disposal of the Bush campaign in 2000. He kicked in $5,000 to pay for the Florida recount fight, while a top Enron "consultant," former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, ran the Republican's recount effort. He even paid for his own bookkeeping, chipping in $1,000 to help the Bush-Cheney campaign comply with campaign-finance laws. And Lay and Enron gave $300,000 to underwrite the Bush-Cheney inauguration festivities in 2001.

    Did all that giving pay off? You bet!

    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.

    As Waxman explained in a 2001 interview, "The fact of the matter is that Enron and Ken Lay, who was the Chief Executive Officer of Enron, had an extraordinary amount of influence and access to the Bush Administration. Lay was called a close friend by both the President and the Vice President. When the Vice President chaired an Energy Task Force, Ken Lay had an opportunity to meet privately with the Vice President and to have a great deal of influence in their recommendations."

    Bush and his aides have worked hard since the Enron scandal broke to suggest that Lay was just another generous Texan. But the attempts to deny linkages to the now-convicted corporate criminal never cut water with Lone Star-state watchdog Craig McDonald, the director of Texans for Public Justice.

    "President Bush's explanation of his relationship with Enron is at best a half truth," McDonald said after Bush first tried to distance himself from Lay and other Enron executives. "He was in bed with Enron before he ever held a political office."

    As governor and president, Bush maintained that intimate relationship.

    Now that his strange bedmate have been convicted of fraud, isn't it time for the president to end the fraud of claiming that he was ever anything less than a political partner of Lay and the Enron team?
  2. Pabst


    Hardly surprising that a governor of Texas would have a relationship with the CEO of a prominent publicly traded corporation domiciled in his state. Under whose DOJ were Enron exec's tried? 99% of Enron's BS took place in the Clinton years.

    In fact any reading of history at all will disclose that Enron had a much cozier working relationship with the Clinton admin than Bush.
  3. Pabst


    I'm not saying the Enron debacle was Clinton's fault. I'm merely pointing out that anyone who thinks Enron was a creation of Bush is a disingenuous asshole. Sorry if the shoe fits.....
  4. I don't recall Bill calling Lay "Kenny Boy" then claiming after the fact the didn't know him very well....

    Heckava Job: Enron Guilt Slimes Bush Family

    Enron Chiefs Lay, Skilling Guilty of Fraud and Conspiracy, NYT
    December, 2002: Video reminds Bush family of embarrassing Enron links
    The White House last night suffered an embarrassing reminder of the Bush family's close relationship with the disgraced energy firm Enron. A video recorded for the leaving party of a former employee shows senior executives joking about how they could manipulate the accounts to make "a kazillion dollars". It also features the current and former President Bushes paying warm tributes to the departing executive. George Bush senior tells Enron's then president Rich Kinder: "You have been fantastic to the Bush family. I don't think anybody did more than you did to support George."

    The 1997 video, shown on MSNBC last night, turned out to be prescient. In one skit, Enron's then chief executive Jeffrey Skilling is shown handing a budget report to a colleague , and explaining how Enron could achieve 600% revenue growth in the coming year. "We're going to move to something I call HFV, or hypothetical future value accounting," he says. "If we do that, we can add a kazillion dollars to the bottom line." On the tape, then chief accounting officer Richard Causey jokes: "I've been on the job for a week managing earnings, and it's easier than I thought it would be." George Bush junior, then governor of Texas, says to Mr Kinder, who has not been implicated in the financial scandal: "Don't leave Texas. You're too good a man." --Guardian

    Bush Served on Harken Board During Enron Trades In 1992. October 22, 2002 "While President Bush served on Harken Energy Corp.'s board more than 10 years ago, it engaged in complex trades with Enron Corp., a watchdog group said on Tuesday." --Yahoo News, quoted by Buzzflash

    April 1997 letter to "Dear George" from "Sincerely, Ken"
    You will be meeting with Ambassador Sadyq Safaey...Enron has established an office in Tashkent and we are negotiating a $3 billion dollar joint venture...I know you and Ambassador Safaev will have a productive meeting which will result in a friendship between Texas and Uzbekistan --Smoking Gun

    In 1997, the Washington Post did a piece about President George H. W. Bush’s overnight guests.... BALZ AND BABCOCK: Comedian Bob Hope, tennis player Andre Agassi, singers Lee Greenwood and Crystal Gayle and baseball great Ted Williams spent the night at the White House during President George Bush’s four years in office...Several others gave significant amounts of money to the party but were not in the $100,000 category. They included: Ken Lay of the Enron Corp.; Richard Rainwater, a Fort Worth investor; Perry Bass of Fort Worth; and Donald Hall of Hallmark Cards. --Daily Howler

    "Phillips writes that in 1988 George W. Bush actually served as a lobbyist for Enron, telephoning the Argentine government to promote an Enron pipeline proposal. Bush’s staff has denied that Bush made that phone call, but an Argentine cabinet minister says he did. In any event, Bush’s father was president-elect when Bush made the alleged phone call, a fact that could not have been lost on the Argentine government." --quoted by Buzzflash

    Bush visits top contributor for Houston baseball bash April 8, 2000
    "Kenneth Lay, right, CEO of the Texas-based energy giant Enron Corp., visits with former president George Bush prior to the Houston Astros' home opener at their new Enron Field Friday night. Lay has been a major contributor for Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. George W. Bush, foreground." --quoted by Buzzflash

    The Bush administration's links to Enron, the trigger for the present wave of scandals, are labyrinthine. Enron, based in Mr Bush's home state of Texas, was his biggest backer during his campaigns for governor and president, donating more than $800,000. He was also a friend of the company's former chief executive Kenneth Lay, whom he referred to affectionately as "Kenny boy". --Guardian

    Ken Lay Quote in an interview with PBS’s 'Frontline' taped on March 27, 2001: 'When Governor Bush, now President Bush, decided to run fo: 'When Governor Bush, now President Bush, decided to run for the governor’s spot, [there was] a little difficult situation. I’d worked very closely with Ann Richards also, the four years she was governor. But I was very close to George W. and had a lot of respect for him, had watched him over the years, particularly with reference to dealing with his father when his father was in the White House and some of the things he did to work for his father, and so did support him.'" --TPJ

    George W. Bush Quote: "I got to know Ken Lay when he was head of the — what they call the Governor's Business Council in Texas. He was a supporter of Ann Richards in my run in 1994. And she had named him the head of the Governor's Business Council. And I decided to leave him in place, just for the sake of continuity. And that's when I first got to know Ken and worked with Ken." —attempting to distance himself from his biggest political patron, Enron Chairman Ken Lay, whom he nicknamed "Kenny Boy," Washington, D.C., Jan. 10, 2002 --About

    "In more than two dozen letters written from Kenneth L. Lay to then-Gov. George W. Bush, the former Enron (news/quote) chairman lobbied repeatedly for his company's pet issue, electric deregulation, sought the governor's presence at Enron-related functions and sent magazine articles and personal notes." --NYT

    May 2002: White House officials had more extensive contacts with Enron executives in 2001 than previously disclosed, according to a document released by the Bush administration today in response to a request for information from a Senate committee. The document describes contacts -- including meetings, phone conversations, letters and e-mail messages -- that concerned the national energy policy report produced by Vice President Dick Cheney, the California energy crisis, Enron's collapse last fall and appointments to administration posts, including the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The White House document also disclosed that Enron executives, including Kenneth L. Lay, the former chairman, attended numerous White House functions, including the 2001 inaugural, the Easter Egg roll, T-ball games, speeches and social events. --NYT

    May 2002: All the examples of the Bush family's role in the rise of Enron. Here, we're running around, we're blaming these accountants, these tricksters that were in Enron, but George W. and George H.W., his father, were very much involved in the whole rise of Enron's influence and power in this country. But you ... you don't see that. People in the press have a lot of trouble touching these issues right where the rubber hits the road. --PBS Interview with Kevin Phillips

  5. Pabst


    Lloyd Bensten, Clinton's first treasury secretary, was a recipient of Enron's money. At the time of his campaign for Senate, he received the second largest donation from Enron. Source: Center for Responsive Politics.

    Clinton officials publicly helped Enron win the contract in India as well as in Indonesia. Enron had received U.S. government funds to build power plants in China, the Philippines and Turkey. Enron also won contracts in Pakistan and Russia while accompanying senior U.S. government officials on state trips. In June 1996, four days before India granted final approval to Enron's project, Lay's company gave $100,000 to the DNC. Source: Time Magazine

    Enron got permission to build a pipeline from Mozambique to South Africa after National Security Adviser Anthony Lake threatened to withhold aid to Mozambique if it didn't approve the project. Source: Mozambique News Agency

    Enron Corporation donated $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee. Six days later, Enron executives were on a trade mission with Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor to Bosnia and Croatia. With Kantor's support, Enron signed a $100 million contract to build a 150-megawatt power plant Source: The Weekly Standard

    Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer of New York, John Breaux of Louisiana, and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico--chairman of the Senate Energy Committee were among the top beneficiaries of Enron's political donations. Source: Fortune Magazine

    Dynergy, an energy company which wanted to buy Enron and later sued them, donated $1,000 of dollars to Henry Waxman (D-CA) in the 2001-2002 cycle, one of the men leading the Enron investigation. Source: Center for Responsive Politics

    Joe Lieberman's and Tom Daschle's largest Contributor in the 2000 election cycle was Enron's Largest Creditor, Citigroup. Source: Center for Responsive Politics

    David Boies, Al Gore's lead lawyer in the Florida recount, is representing former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow. Source: New York Post

    Enron contributed some $682,000 to the DNC during the 2000 election. Source: Center for Responsive Politics

    The congressman who received the most money from Enron in the past 12 years is Ken Bentsen (D-Texas) who received $42,750. The second largest receiver was Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) who received $38,000 Source: Center for Responsive Politics

    The ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, John D. Dingell (D-Mich), is the 10th largest receiver of Enron contributions totaling $9,000. Source: Center for Responsive Politics
  6. Enron a creation of Bush? I never said that. And the article I posted never said that.

    The shoe fits - but it fits you Rush. Uh, I mean Pabst.