But a memo presented by Lay during an April meeting with Cheney shows how close the energy giant and the White House were. Lay put out a range of ideas on energy, deregulation and California's then-critical power crisis. His points either ended up in the Cheney energy report or became political stances for President Bush.Don't stop now, let's see some examples. Oh, our professional journalist and/or editor didn't see fit to include any, lest we should be able to "fact check his ass". (I Googled and found what I believe is the right document, but beware - it's a 2.5MB pdf. I infer that this is a summary of the preceding.)
Perhaps Cheney, a former oil executive, would have adopted the same positions without Lay's lobbying. But the April meeting underscores the remarkable access that the Enron chairman enjoyed.And just why wouldn't a company with Enron's size in Enron's businesses from Enron's state get a chance to talk to the administration, especially when they were alleged to have taken advantage of the situation in California? At least there is some acknowledgement that any overlap could have been coincidence.
The session took place during California's costly electricity crisis. While Lay had easy entree, California leaders got nowhere in seeking similar face- time with the White House.The California leaders were Democrats and Bush is not, and California did not vote for Bush. It's no surprise that they didn't get ushered to the front of the line, especially when they were demagoguing as they pursued an asinine policy they called "deregulation". And the professionalism: California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said "I would love to personally escort Lay to an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, 'Hi, my name is Spike, honey,' " .
Why did he take advice from a prominent energy executive and not talk to California's elected representatives who had to explain to taxpayers how they got stuck with Enron's bills?Because it would be so much fun watching the elected representatives explain what happened, when in fact their own policies had created the problem and forced their utilities into bankruptcy. And now, as a final raspberry, the ratepayers see that a company that allegedly was making so much profit out of their hides actually managed to go broke.
What other suggestions or favors came up during six meetings of the energy task force with Enron executives?Well, we know that Enron was bucking for CO2 controls, and they didn't get them. We know that Enron wanted more solar and windpower, and they didn't get it. There may well be much more, but this at least shows they didn't get everything they asked for.
This is journalism? At least with me you get what you pay for...