Enron: Who will utter the 'P' word?

By JOHN BLOOM  |  Feb. 1, 2002 at 11:31 AM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Maybe I've missed it, but as Enronmania sweeps through Washington, I haven't seen a single call for that white-knight 90s solution to all things sticky and sordid: Special Prosecutor.

Of course, it could just be that Enron isn't big enough, or doesn't affect enough people in the executive branch, to warrant the SP treatment. Let's take a look:

(1) Thirty-five people in the current administration have direct ties to Enron.

(Two people in the Clinton administration had direct ties to Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan.)

(2) The Enron collapse affects about 100,000 people directly, many more indirectly, and could amount to a $250 billion blow to the economy.

(The Madison Guaranty collapse amounted to less than $50 million -- for those keeping track, that would be .02 percent of the Enron loss -- and the Clintons' part in that would amount to a $100,000 paper loss of their own money.)

(3) Enron was the seventh-largest company in the nation.

(Madison Guaranty was one of the smallest savings and loans IN ARKANSAS. On the list of failed thrift institutions, it was near the bottom, just one-twentieth the size of First Federal of Little Rock, for example.)

(4) President Bush was directly responsible for securities law enforcement when Enron collapsed.

(Bill Clinton had no oversight of savings and loans when he was governor. In fact, the first President Bush had responsibility for the liquidation of Arkansas savings and loans, through his creation, the Resolution Trust Corp.)

(5) President Bush was a director of Harken Energy in 1990, when he sold $848,560 worth of stock right before the price plummeted. He didn't report the trade until 34 weeks after he was required to do so by law. The SEC investigated him three other times for failing to report insider trading.

(Bill Clinton was never accused of insider trading. Hillary Clinton was accused of short-selling some stocks, but she was not an inside trader. The Whitewater transaction occurred in 1978, 14 YEARS before the Whitewater special prosecutor was appointed, so the Bush SEC violation would actually be more recent.)

(6) The Bush family was friends with Enron Chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay while that company was fleecing shareholders and employees.

(The Clinton family were friends, but not close ones, with Jim and Susan McDougal, but by the mid-80s, when McDougal started fleecing shareholders and employees and business partners, the Clintons were mad at McDougal, mostly for abusing their trust and making a mess of a business they had no idea was in trouble.)

(7) When President Bush was told that Enron might be in trouble, he did nothing.

(When Hillary Clinton was told that Madison Guaranty might be in trouble, she demanded to see the books and personally supervised an exhaustive search through the poorly kept records.)

(8) President Bush and members of the Bush Cabinet relied on Enron for the energy policy that resulted in massive deregulation of an already mostly deregulated utility industry.

(Clinton thought Jim McDougal was a crackpot.)

(9) President Bush received almost a million dollars from Enron and its board.

(Bill and Hillary Clinton LOST $43,000 to Madison Guaranty, who then begged them for more and asked them to sign over their share of the Whitewater land.)

(10) Kenneth Lay, who regards Bush as a friend, is accused of insider trading.

(Jim McDougal, who regarded Clinton as an enemy, was accused of insider trading.)

(11) Enron controlled things like whether California had enough power and how dependent we are on foreign oil.

(Madison Guaranty controlled a 230-acre parcel of land on the White River that nobody wanted.)

The two Whitewater special prosecutors spent SIX YEARS on the case. (Most people don't remember the FIRST Whitewater prosecutor, Robert B. Fiske, who took just five months to conclude that Whitewater warranted no criminal indictments. The second one, Kenneth Starr, used the rest of the decade to prove that Clinton lied about oral sex.)

I'm not saying we SHOULD have a Special Prosecutor. I'm saying I'm surprised the idea hasn't even come up.

(John Bloom writes several columns for UPI. He can be reached at joebob@upi.com.)

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