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Enron in the White House

January 19, 2002

The Enron debacle sheds light on the parochial thinking that dominates this administration's approach to energy. Enron Chairman Kenneth L. Lay is (or was) a friend of the president and of many key members of his administration. He was by all accounts a major contributor to the energy policy that was formed by the administration, a process that occurred behind closed doors and that Vice President Dick Cheney refuses to open to public scrutiny. This energy plan was clearly crafted to benefit the oil executives.

Lay's and his fellow executives' actions at Enron expose the moral hypocrisy of these gentlemen. They withheld critical information from the public, deluded investors and employees about the true status of Enron, cashed in their own holdings while they still had value and at the same time prevented their own employees from selling Enron stock. Thousands of people lost their jobs, and other thousands lost their retirement savings.

Given the demonstrated lack of scruples of Lay and his fellow executives, any input that they provided to the energy plan is to be distrusted. The plan should be scrapped and a new effort to define an energy policy should be initiated that is open and includes participation by all relevant parties, not just energy executives.

Paul W. Rosenberger

Manhattan Beach

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Enron and Bush's energy policy may end the romance this country is having with our present administration. If that doesn't do it, try living in an all-electric home, where the utility rates have risen $100 a month. In an indirect way, we are all victims of this latest scandal.

Bea Morrow

Long Beach

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The relationship between the Bush administration and Enron was far too cozy to expect the Justice Department to aggressively carry out its duties. This administration ignored Enron's gouging of Californians over the mock "energy crisis" while Cheney met with Enron to concoct the Bush energy policy. Cheney continues to defy his own government's requests for notes of those meetings. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft has already had to recuse himself, and his deputy formerly worked for a law firm that represented Enron.

Only a special prosecutor will satisfy the American public's right that justice be done. If the Republicans can support the need for an independent counsel to investigate Whitewater, Troopergate, Travelgate and all the other "scandals" that never happened, certainly they should join the rest of us who demand to know if this administration is as corrupt as it openly appears.

Lewis Grove

Castella, Calif.

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I find Rex Rabin's cartoon (Commentary, Jan. 15), which depicts Ken Starr lamenting he wound up with Whitewater rather than the presumably more substantive Enron case, quite bizarre.

Starr's investigation of Whitewater, which morphed into Monicagate, was from the get-go about one thing only: neutralizing President Clinton by all means short of assassination. In contrast, the Enron scandal is all about the wealthy and powerful in this country exploiting their privileged positions for further self-enrichment at the expense of the middle and lower classes. Why on Earth does Rabin think Starr would be against that?

Paul Gulino

Santa Monica

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