News Release

Enron: Then and Now


On a release by the Institute for Public Accuracy on January 24, 2001, Slocum (the research director of the Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program at Public Citizen) said: “What we’re seeing in California is price manipulation by the handful of power producers who exert total market control over the wholesale market. … George W. Bush has said that the crisis is a state, not a federal, issue. He couldn’t be more wrong. The federal government, through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has the authority to set cost-based rates on California power producers.” Today Slocum said: “In light of memos indicating that Army Secretary Thomas White’s former Enron division was involved in price-gouging during the California electricity crisis, we call for White to resign immediately and for the Justice Department to initiate a criminal probe. Thomas White served as Vice-Chairman of Enron Energy Services from 1998 until the Senate confirmed him as Secretary of the Army in May 2001. When President Bush nominated White for the post, he cited White’s 11-year experience as a top Enron executive as a primary qualification. The internal company memos describe how Thomas White’s division lied to California officials, enabling the company to charge prices far higher than should have been allowed.” Slocum is co-author of the report “Blind Faith: How Deregulation and Enron’s Influence Over Government Looted Billions from Americans.” See:
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In an IPA news release on May 29, 2001, Makhijani (president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) said: “The Bush administration wants to build a national electricity grid that would be at the service of large-scale speculators and marketers like Enron. This creates unnecessary demands on infrastructure and would be outside the control of local authorities.” Today Makhijani said: “The recent evidence that Enron was manipulating the electricity market in California shows that corporate-centered deregulation harms both electric system reliability and consumers. Regional and local control and oversight as well as transparency of large generating companies are needed to ensure that consumers and small generating companies get a fair shake.” See:
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On a release by the Institute for Public Accuracy on May 17, 2001, Krumholz (research director of the Center for Responsive Politics) said: “In the last [election] cycle, the energy sector donated $64.6 million; nearly half came from soft money. More than half came from the oil and gas industry. While the energy sector was not one of the largest contributors to Bush, he was the top recipient in all of the major industries within energy. Enron was the top donor from the energy sector.” Today Krumholz said: “Enron has revealed that it spent about three times as much on lobbying in the first half of 2001 as it first reported, according to an amended report the company filed with Congress on March 1. The revision comes a little more than a month after the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics notified the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House that Enron had underreported its lobbying expenditures by at least 50 percent.” See:

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167