News Release

Enron: Interviews Available

WENONAH HAUTER
Director of Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy & Environment Program and co-author of the report “Blind Faith: How Deregulation and Enron’s Influence Over Government Looted Billions from Americans,” Hauter said today: “The Bush administration should immediately release all communications it has had with Enron because its selective disclosure of Enron contacts so far doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, on Feb. 17, 2001, Bush’s Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill, announced that the administration was scrapping an international treaty negotiated by Bill Clinton that would have ended the ability of U.S. corporations to utilize off-shore tax havens as vehicles to hide money. Enron is perhaps the largest abuser of this practice, employing 874 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and other nations with weak bank disclosure laws….”
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RUSSELL MOKHIBER
The editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, Mokhiber said today: “Much of the history of corporate crime and violence in this country has never seen the light of day because of corporate executives who follow closely the advice of corporate counsel — when in doubt, shred it. By destroying relevant documents, Andersen was apparently following to the letter advice often dished out by white collar defense lawyers, including that of Harvey Pitt, the accounting industry star defense lawyer until he became the current chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. White collar defense lawyers like Pitt often advise corporate clients to implement flexible ‘document retention’ programs so that incriminating documents are destroyed before they see the light of day. In 1994, Pitt co-authored a law review article, ‘When Bad Things Happen to Good Companies: A Crisis Management Primer.’ ‘At the crux of many corporate crises, there are typically a handful of key documents,’ Pitt wrote. ‘Corporate counsel must take every available opportunity to imbue company executives with the understanding that their documents will take on separate lives when they enter the treadmill of litigation. Ask executives and employees to imagine all their documents in the hands of a zealous regulator or on the front page of the New York Times. Each company should have a system of determining the retention and destruction of documents,’ Pitt wrote. ‘Obviously, once a subpoena has been issued, or is about to be issued, any existing document destruction policies should be brought to an immediate halt.'”
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RICHARD GROSSMAN
Co-director of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy, which recently released the book Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy, Grossman said today: “The focus should not be so much on the individuals at the helm of Enron, but on the nation’s and our states’ legal and constitutional underpinnings. Our public officials are responsible for creating and empowering corporate legal entities like Enron which deny human rights and cause great harm. It is in the DNA of present-day corporations to consolidate power and wealth — and to exercise governing powers over the people. Since we the people are supposed to be sovereign — the source of all legal and political authority in this country through elections, lawmaking and public policy — why do we permit our public officials to give our authority away to these artificial entities?”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378