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THE ENRON INQUIRY

Group Aiding Those Laid Off Gets Funding

January 19, 2002|From Associated Press

HOUSTON — Politicians eager to dump their campaign contributions from beleaguered Enron Corp. are pumping money into a Houston organization seeking to help the bankrupt energy giant's laid-off employees.

The Greater Houston Community Foundation had been informally discussing how to help many of the 4,500 employees who found themselves jobless in early December after Enron filed for bankruptcy.

"We had great ideas and no funding," said Emelda Douglas, director of donor services. "Since Wednesday, all of a sudden, someone has discovered our idea and is willing to fund it."

On Friday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said she would donate nearly $8,000 in campaign contributions from Enron and its accounting firm, Andersen.

New York Gov. George Pataki said he'd add a $5,000 campaign contribution from the wife of Enron Chairman Kenneth L. Lay.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) said Thursday she plans to give $100,000 she had received in contributions from Enron and its employees.

Douglas said the fund is also asking for private donations.

A fund established by Rebekah Rushing, a private citizen, received a $68,857 check from Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). "I'm hoping now that the word is getting out that people will start contributing," Rushing said. "We can make a difference."

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