Vast Leftist Conspiracy (was something else)
Mon, 14 Jan 2002 22:09:04 -0800
Another Whitewater? Yippee!!
What the Enron mess would look like if it really were a political scandal.
Monday, January 14, 2002 12:01 a.m. EST
We hasten to agree that the Enron collapse should be investigated. On the
record so far, it looks as if a bunch of natural gas salesmen got over their
heads in financial wizardry and made a catastrophic mess trying to make back
what they lost. But we don't know the details of their off-balance-sheet
inventions, and the deals should be carefully scoured for so-far missing
evidence of criminal intent.
It's also clear that Enron executives gave a lot of money to politicians of
both parties, but especially to Republicans and a pile to George W. Bush. On
this the record so far reads: The misstatement of Enron earnings goes back
to 1997, and whatever regulatory depredations contributed to its stock
run-up took place under a previous, Democratic administration.
When the jig went up last year, Enron came around asking for help from its
Republican friends, and didn't get any. President Bush has called for an
investigation, and his Justice Department is chartering a special task force
while his Attorney General has recused himself. But who knows, Democrats and
prodding pressies may be right that somewhere in here there's another
Did someone say Whitewater? What a delightful word. We didn't think it would
come back from the semantic grave until the Special Division of the U.S.
Court of Appeals releases Independent Counsel Robert Ray's final report.
That's likely to be in the next couple of weeks, and as a preview we can
only imagine what revelations will come next if Enron really is another
For openers, we can expect to learn that Enron nabob Kenneth Lay was not
only a Bush campaign contributor, he was a personal business partner of the
former Texas governor and his wife Laura. Mr. Lay's wife Linda will turn out
to have been a fourth partner, whose role was advertising their venture
riding a stallion while clad in short-shorts. Eventually Mr. Lay will allege
an affair between his wife and the governor, who will turn out to have been
a notorious rake.
The Lay-Bush partnership hit a financial storm, we will learn, but stays
barely afloat with a lot of help. A federally backed loan agency lends
$300,000 to a front company set up in Mrs. Lay's name, and $50,000 of that
is funneled to the Bush-Lay partnership to pay off a loan and make a down
payment on some land. The Texas good ol' boy running the loan agency says
the governor solicited the loan, and that he was told it was for the
"political family"; he pleads guilty to two felonies and goes to jail. The
money runs in and out of a savings and loan run by Mr. Lay, which collapses
at a taxpayer loss of $73 million.
When some of this surfaces in the Presidential campaign, the Bush campaign
gets a buddy at Arthur Andersen to report that everything's kosher. When Mr.
Bush is elected, he summarily fires all of the U.S. attorneys, especially
that pesky Mary Jo White in Manhattan. He seeds the White House counsel's
office with Laura's buddies and business associates. The partner he sends to
oversee the Justice Department is later forced to resign and goes to prison
for bilking his own associates.
Another crony in the White House counsel's office commits suicide, after
defending Laura's task force to solve the Social Security problem in 100
days, and preparing a Presidential tax return ignoring the gift from Mr. Lay
when he assumed the first couple's share of the Lay-Bush debts. White House
Counsel Alberto Gonzales refuses the Justice Department permission to search
the office. Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson asks, "Al, are you hiding
Meanwhile, back in Texas, federal regulators are looking at Mr. Lay's bank
records, and a field investigator has sent a criminal referral to Washington
naming the Bushes, the Lays and President Bush's successor as Texas
governor, Rick Perry, as possible beneficiaries of crimes. Deputy Treasury
Secretary Kenneth Dam shows up at the White House to deliver a "heads up" on
the Presidential citation. The referral is shuffled back to Texas, to be
buried by the newly installed U.S. attorney, and the field investigator is
taken off the case.
All of this recounts only the first year or so of the new Whitewater, of
course, but we can look forward to continuing amusements. Congress will get
involved. Republicans will pillory that poor Texas field investigator; her
computer disks will be scanned for compromising details. Independent
counsels will come and go; the Supreme Court will be called upon to issue
rulings against White House stonewalling. In Texas, Governor Perry, Mr. and
Mrs. Lay and 11 others will be convicted on a series of charges related to
bank fraud and conspiracy. Laura Bush will launch a campaign suggesting that
anyone raising questions about Enron is a part of a "vast pinko conspiracy."
The first year's pattern of behavior will persist, however, through a whole
series of questionable Presidential activities involving campaign
fund-raising, women, lies and political assaults on anyone raising issues of
Presidential responsibility. Mr. Bush will end up lying to a federal grand
jury, but will beat back a half-hearted impeachment attempt. During his last
week in office he will pardon Greenwich financier Martin Frankel; one of the
groupies who accompanied him evading a four-month international manhunt in
1999 will turn up as a Bush campaign contributor and sometime Presidential
It sure sounds like fun, but we keep pinching ourselves. Two Whitewaters is
just too much to ask. In our sober moments, we suspect that political
contributions had little to do with the rise and fall of Enron. Its
ascendancy under Democrats and bankruptcy under Republicans doesn't exactly
fit the current pressie axiom that money tends to corrupt and political
money corrupts absolutely.
Rather, the ultimate lesson may turn out to be that Enron was able to play
fast and loose in a financial boom and Clintonian moral climate, and was
called to account in a recession when the moral climate has turned
Ashcroftian. And for Whitewater, the lesson of Enron may be that all the
agony didn't have to be, that the best protection against looming scandal is
honesty and sunlight.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of John
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2002 4:54 PM
Subject: RE: Vast Leftist Conspiracy (was something else)
On Monday, January 14, 2002 7:09 PM, Lucas Gonze wrote:
> I can see it coming on the edge of night, oh lord -- years
> worth of threads about Enron. Enron this, enron that.
> enronenronenron. oil money. Texas. the civil war.
> eventually something about sex. right wing bitterness.
> left wing bitterness. on and on. ....................
I think we'll have to deal with many bad pretzel jokes
Enron touches both sides - it will be interesting to see if
the Dems remember that. See http://www.continue.to/enron.