The Enron PAC’s Last Waltz?
Enron’s swan-song PAC report contains forensic clues about its political agenda during the time of its collapse.
Enron’s latest PAC report, filed with the Texas Ethics Commission earlier this month, covers the $105,393 that Enron doled out to political committees and candidates in the latter half of 2001. This period is significant, starting as it does in July, a month before Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling announced his abrupt resignation, which marked the public be-ginning of Enron’s end.
Michigan State Rep. Jim Howell had the dubious honor of getting Enron’s last PAC contribution of November 8, 2001. The recipient of this $300 check heads his state’s Civil Law and Judiciary Committee—a policy area of newfound interest to Enron. The day that Enron’s PAC sent Rep. Howell its last check Enron also “revised” five years of financial reports to obliterate $600 million in paper profits. Rep. Howell and other Republican recipients received 56 percent ($58,678) of Enron’s PAC money for the period; Democrats pocketed the remaining 44 percent ($46,715).
Federal candidates and committees received 76 percent ($80,618) of Enron PAC money in late 2001. The remaining 24 percent ($24,775) influenced politicians in five states.
Enron Favored Federal PACs & Candidates In Late 2001 *Affiliated with Rep. Steny Hoyer D-MD
Favorite Democrats Recipient Amount Blue Dog PAC $5,000 New Democrat Network $5,000 *Ameripac $2,500 Sen. Charles Schumer, NY $2,090 Rep. Rick Boucher, VA $2,000 Rep. William Jefferson, LA $2,000 *Affiliated with Rep. Joe Barton, TX
Favorite Republicans Recipient Amount New Republican Majority Fund $5,000 *Texas Freedom Fund PAC $5,000 †American Success PAC $2,500 Sen. Larry E. Craig, ID $2,000 Sen. Chuck Hagel, NE $2,000 Rep. Greg Walden, OR $1,500 Sen. Cand. Eliz. Dole, NC $1,028
† Affiliated with Rep. David Dreier, CA
PACs were the largest federal recipients of this Enron money, led by four PACs that got $5,000 apiece. Seven federal candidates received more than $1,000 from Enron’s PAC in late 2001, led by New York Sen. Charles Schumer (see table). Five of the six sitting members of Congress who received the most Enron money in late 2001 sit on House or Senate energy committees (the exception is Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson).
During the recent scandal, many candidates have rushed to return some or all of their Enron money. This report does not track which Enron funds have been returned.
Enron PAC State Contributions,
Enron Share of No. of State PAC $ State Money Recipients TX $17,250 70% 11 MI $4,125 17% 11 OH $1,550 6% 8 LA $1,000 4% 4 IN $850 3% 3 Total: $24,775 100% 37
State candidates and committees received 24 percent ($24,775) of Enron’s late 2001 money, with the PAC investing heaviest in states with large deregulated electricity markets.
Texas accounted for 70 percent of this money, followed by Michigan (17 percent) and Ohio (6 percent). Residential electricity deregulation took effect this month in Texas and Michigan; Ohio’s deregulation occurred last summer. Notably absent from this list are politicians from California, where Enron became a pariah long before its national fall from grace.
Five of the 11 Texas politicians who got some of Enron’s last PAC money are state district court judges in Houston. It remains to be seen if any Enron-collapse litigation will come before these judges and if they will recuse themselves from any that does (campaign contributions rarely trigger judicial recusals in Texas). A leading recipient of this Enron money is Judge Elizabeth Ray, who currently is a Texas Supreme Court candidate.
Michigan legislators dominated the rest of Enron’s state money, led by Senate Technology & Energy Committee Chair Mat Dunaskiss. Dunaskiss’ committee has been handling proposals to expand high-speed Internet access. Another top recipient was Rep. Ken Bradstreet, who is vice chair of Dunaskiss’ sister committee in the House. Michigan’s other top recipient was Senate Economic Development Committee Chair Bill Schuette. Enron PAC’s favorite Ohio politician was Rep. Lynn Olman, who chairs her state’s House Public Utilities Committee.
Texas State Recipients
of Enron's Last PAC Money
Recipient Party Amount Gov. Rick Perry R $5,000 *Texas Oil & Gas PAC $5,000 Rep. Kip Averitt R $1,000 Rep. David Counts D $1,000 Sen. Jane Nelson R $1,000 Judge Bruce Oakley R $1,000 †Judge Elizabeth Ray R $1,000 Rep. Steve Wolens D $1,000 Rep. Bob Hunter R $500 Judge Brent Gamble R $250 Judge George Hanks R $250 Judge Jeff Work R $250 Total: $17,250
Other States' Top Recipients
of Enron's Last PAC Money
State Recipient P. Amount MI Sen. Mat J. Dunaskiss R $1,000 MI Rep. Ken Bradstreet R $500 MI MI House Democ. Fund D $500 OH Rep. Lynn E. Olman R $500 MI Sen. Bill Schuette R $500 MI Rep. Mike Bishop R $300 IN Rep. Craig R. Fry D $300 MI Rep. Jim Howell R $300 IN Sen. James A. Lewis Jr. D $300 MI Rep. Randy Richardville R $300 OH Sen. Steve Austria R $250 OH Rep. Patricia M. Clancy R $250 LA Rep. Dan Flavin R $250 LA Rep. Ronnie Johns R $250 IN Rep. Dan Morrish D $250 LA Rep. Victor T. Stelly R $250 LA Sen. Gerald Theunissen R $250
Enron’s last PAC donors
Enron’s PAC grabbed a final $11,511 in payroll deductions from 229 employees on November 30, 2001—just two days before the company filed for bankruptcy. This collection was down 19 percent from the $14,132 that Enron’s PAC got from 265 employees on the last day of July. These PAC payroll deductions ranged from $8 up to $208.
The smallest contributions came from middle management as well as Assistant Chief Pilot John Stabler, who was in a position to ferry George W. Bush around the country back when he was a fre-quent flier on Enron corporate jets.
The seven executives who contributed the most to Enron’s PAC in late 2001 each tithed $2,083. These executives include such major Enron scandal players as Chief Accounting Officer Richard Causey and General Counsel James Derrick, Jr. In fact, five of these high rollers face shareholder lawsuits, in part because they collectively sold $82.7 million in Enron stock in the three years prior to Enron’s meltdown (see table).•
Top Enron PAC Donors, July-December 2001 Enron PAC Co. Stock Sold PAC Donor Amount 10/98-11/01 Enron Title in 2001 Previous Employer Richard Causey $2,083 $13.3 million Chief Accounting Officer Arthur Anderson Sr. Mgr. Mike Mcconnell $2,083 $2.3 million CEO/Pres. Enron Global Markets James Derrick Jr. $2,083 $12.6 million General Counsel/Exec. VP Vinson & Elkins Partner Stanley Horton $2,083 $45.4 million CEO Enron Global Services Florida Gas Transmission Co. Gene Humphrey $2,083 CEO Enron Investment Partners Mark Koenig $2,083 $9.1 million Exec. VP Investor Relations Peter Kiewit construction Steven Kean $2,083 Exec VP/Chief of Staff Linda Robertson $2,000 Chief Washington Lobbyist Treasury liaison to Congress
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