"The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then
not enough power to power the power of generating plants."  -- George W. Bush, 1/14/01


How a phony electricity shortage
exposed corruption in the White House


Extra Feature:  Here is my review of the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room.
And here's a review of a mockumentary comedy called Memron.  For other reviews of films related to current events, go here.

=>  The newest entry is #47, August 25.

At the beginning of 2001 I created a web page covering the California electricity crisis.  I started with a suspicion and a few hints of evidence, that the shortage was phony and being created to manipulate the market.  Throughout the year the evidence mounted, and strange pronouncements and rulings came out of Washington that did more to obstruct solutions than to help.  In June, whistleblowers verified that supply was being manipulated to raise prices.  From then on the story turned increasingly from one of economic manipulation to one of political manipulation.  The amount of crookedness involved was beyond all my expectations.  By late November, as bombs were falling on Afghanistan, that page reached this conclusion:

"Let this be a lesson. The single most powerful faction in politics today is not liberalism or conservatism, but privilege and corruption.  That's what elected George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton would never have been elected either without its approval....  Probably half of the federal budget gets spent according to its dictates."
Those words were truer than I knew, because the next thing that happened was the collapse of Enron, an event that soon uncovered a web of financial crime almost beyond belief in its enormity.  And it became clear that the way that Enron had gotten away with so much could be summed up in one word: bribery.

The first purpose of this page was to publicize the whole ugly truth of that scandal, in greater depth than you might see in typical news stories, as it developed.  I also continue to cover some residual stories from the California electricity crisis, such as PG&E's adventures in bankruptcy court, and the continuing efforts at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to protect many of the other pirates involved.  And I watch out for new stories that involve corrupt links between government and the energy industry, and occasional other tidbits about possible corruption in the White House.  Over time, quite a few different stories of political corruption have been covered here.

The story, as I observed it at the time, is divided into the following reports:

#47: August 25, 2004
Ken Lay does the perp walk, finally.  A Bush insider promises intervention in Iran if they win the election.  California slowly reclaims a small amount of the money stolen during the electricity crisis, with no help from the federal government.  PG&E comes out of bankruptcy with a deal that basically says they keep all their money and we pay all their debts.  A macroeconomic analysis finds that the electricity ripoff may be responsible for the major portion of America's current recession: more than the tech stock collapse or 9/11 is.  The Bush White House, starting to thrash desperately as it realizes it's now the underdog in the coming election, pressures Pakistan to come up with a terror suspect capture during the Democratic convention, and Pakistan complies.  Then an administration spokesman blurts out the name of an undercover mole inside Al Qaeda, aborting major anti-terror operations... apparently just in an effort to prove that they weren't trying to make fresh terror alerts out of old data. Then they launch a smear campaign against John Kerry and try to deny their responsibility for it, which quickly leads to embarrassing connections being revealed.  Encouraging action, but little real success, occurs on the touchscreen voting front.  Hugo Chávez in Venezuela survives a recall drive.  Florida makes a second attempt at using a bogus list of felons not allowed to vote: this one has tons of black voters and virtually no hispanic ones.  Halliburton gets in so much trouble that the Army threatens not to pay them.  And lots more.

#46: July 3, 2004
After eight months out of action, E&F is back.  The story of Halliburton's corrupt profiteering is coming to a head: it looks like they might have exaggerated a bit when they believed that "We can be as dumb and stupid as we want in the first year of a war, nobody's going to care."  Now even the Pentagon is upset with them.  As well they should be, since their abuses lead directly to greater hostility by Iraqi insurgents, and more violent deaths on both sides.  Also, the long-simmering lawsuit brought against Dick Cheney's energy task force reaches the Supreme Court, with about the kind of results you'd expect from a justice who goes duck hunting with the defendant.  Good old Enron is back in the news, having been caught on tape gloating about "fucking" California... just so this isn't an all-Cheney entry.

#45: October 11, 2003
Schwarzenegger is elected, prompting much embarrassment for us Californians (me especially because of how I like to brag about my home state), and proposes a new electricity deregulation scheme that looks rather alarmingly too similar to the old one.  Fortunately, it will never pass the legislature... at least not soon... or at least that's what some opponents are saying.  I get a bright (?) idea for how to mobilize people effectively against undependable electronic voting machines, which might at some future time lead to me needing to stop writing Enron & Friends in order to concentrate on that other issue.

#44: September 19, 2003
A long one.  Developing countries flex their muscle in the WTO, fending off the self-interested policy proposals of the rich countries at a Cancun conference.  The California recall election continues to produce oddball developments, and things are not not looking too good for the challengers.  Conservative Tom McClintock may end up elbowing aside Ahnuld as the principal GOP challenger, and not without good reason... but the candidate who's looking surprisingly strong right now is Governor Davis himself.  Hugo Chávez in Venezuela fends off a recall of his own.  We note Chávez's role in the revitalization of OPEC.  FERC is still trying to protect some perpetrators of the California electricity crisis.  Congress starts to roll back various items of Dubyan special-interest excess as the public's confidence in the White House fades.  Some investigation into how the California electricity situation is shaping up today, with the crisis behind us... and a realization that the reason Ohio's power lines overloaded and caused a massive blackout was because deregulated electricity market-tradiing schemes have greatly increased the amount of long-distance shuffling of electrical power, creating demand on transmission lines that, from an engineering standpoint of simply getting power from generators directly to customers, is entirely unnecessary usage of the system.  Our most frightening item is a look at the increasingly sleazy story of Diebold's electronic voting machines, which are now plagued with a whole list of embarrassments, and which may already have been used to rig a statewide election.  My county uses those machines... and I'm voting absentee until they're removed.

#43: August 23, 2003
Just two main topics covered this time around: the eastern blackout, and the California recall election.  It's becoming increasingly clear that the blackout originated at FirstEnergy Corp. in Ohio, which turns out to be a snakepit of sleaze, with all the money that should have gone to maintaining equipment going to politicians, lobbyists, and "consultants" who, according to one legislator familiar with their ways of operation, pretty much got everything they wanted from governments the dealt with.  Fine friends of Bush and Cheney, of course.  And the recall story is linked to this: it turns out that one political figure Ken Lay met with in 2001, in an attempt to shore up Enron's faltering future as the electricity crisis began to come to a close, was Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Another list of summaries of miscellaneous other stories, much shorter this time.

#42: August 17, 2003
It's the East Coast's turn for electricity trouble.  We don't know enough yet to talk about causes.  In California, things look ever more dismal for Governor Davis in the recall election, in part because (unless the State Supreme Court does something about it), Arnold Schwarzenegger could easily win even if far more voters vote to keep Davis, and would vote for another Democrat rather than Ahnuld.  But something good has come out of the Schwarzenegger campaign: his is the first political campaign in the state that has dared to suggest that the old Proposition 13 property tax cuts need to be reversed.  Meanwhile, suspicions about Halliburton's lucrative role in Iraq, and how they got it, are now more than just suspicions.  This edition closes with a long bulleted list of briefly summarized corruption stories, as we have done several times before.

#41: August 8, 2003
Enron & Friends returns after a long absence.  Here we cover a random sampling of stories that went by during the break.  That interval included such matters as a war with Iraq, but that's not our topic.  We do, however, look at the apparent effort to obstruct investigation into 9/11, and efforts to protect Saudi interests that have gotten so embarrassing that even the Saudi government wants Bush to just put the facts before the public.  The most up-to-date part is discussion of the California special election on whether to recall Governor Gray Davis, which is at least in part an outgrowth of the electricity crisis (in which Davis did far more good than those now attacking him did).  Davis's Republican opponents seem to be unifying behind, God help us, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

#40: January 15, 2003
Bush is now pushing for another big tax cut; the centerpiece this time is a tax cut for stock dividend income.  Maybe this is supposed to mollify the Wall Street investors who are very leery of a larger budget deficit.  Independent economists, and even Bush's former Treasury Secretary, say the tax cut won't work as economic stimulus.  Joe Lieberman announces he's running for president.  It's revealed that, yes, the White House does inflate terror alerts.  Henry Kissinger's replacement to head the 9/11 investigating commission is in a joint oil venture with Osama's brother in law.  Some post-Enron reforms are making progress, all coming from non-elected officials.  Michael Powell at the FCC gets cold feet about media monopolization.  The Venezuelan coup group, failing to win by popular means, gets dirtier.  Maryland's new governor purges environmental staffers.  Background discussion on whether Clinton was really much different from Bush on serving corporate interests.  Why to vote for third parties, especially if you currently don't vote.

#39: December 26, 2002
Citigroup and the other Wall Street firms that helped Enron with its stock frauds are now paying the price in court: they just settled with federal regulators for fines totalling well over a billion dollars, only to lose a separate ruling that they can be held liable in Enron investor lawsuits.  An embarrassing 1997 videotape shows both George Bushes listening to Enron executives joking about bogus accounting.  Trent Lott's racist faux pas is apparently setting off a power struggle between factions inside the GOP, with the immediate result being more power centralized in the White House.  North Korea pushes our nuclear buttons; Rumsfeld warns them we can fight a war against them and Iraq simultaneously.  Iraq's 12,000 page report on the weapons of mass destruction it claims not to have apparently lists dozens of western corporations that have helped them create such weapons; many in Europe are saying this is why almost everyone, even the UN Security Council, is getting only a censored short version of the report.  Another grab-bag of minor stories.

#38: December 18, 2002
FERC is still protecting energy companies... but they may yet relent.  Bush shakes up his economic team but not his policies, which are still a push for tax cuts that even Wall Street is increasingly leery of.  Bush's new appointments, in this area and several others, do nothing to restore confidence.  United Airlines fails to get corporate welfare, and this may well be part of what pushed Bush's old Treasury secretary out of office.  In general, the GOP moves to centralize all decision making with a few leaders.  A very large grab-bag of numerous other corruption stories.

#37: November 22, 2002
The Texas oil companies Hunt and Halliburton are making a new deal with the White House to have taxpayers fund their gas pipeline project in Peru.  Senator Domenici pushes more favors for domestic gas companies, including some under criminal investigation, with new revelations still appearing regularly.  A Pentagon general tells Colombia that they'd better buy our planes if they want our aid.  Bush is apparently giving in to reform pressure in a couple of areas, like the SEC and the Federal Election Commission.  Spencer Abraham backs auto and oil industry plans for hydrogen fuel-cell cars.  The EPA's "New Source Review" rule changes are a major concession to polluters.

#36: November 15, 2002
The new Republican majority may still fail to pass many Bush agenda items, due to cold feet among some senators and representatives who actually think about the consequences.  Even Bush is beginning to doubt that the FBI is handling domestic anti-terrorism competently.  Anti-terrorism defense funds are neglected for the sake of Star Wars missile defense.  Bush gets a UN resolution on Iraq and promptly starts to distort what the security council members voted for.  Increasingly fumbling relations with Pakistan as a new government tries to form there.  Janet Rehnquist at HHS becomes the latest Bushie to get in trouble for selling out to special interests.  Legal pressure on generating companies that ripped off California increases; one (Williams) reaches a settlement with the state.

#35: November 5, 2002
On this election day, Jeb Bush may win a second term thanks to vote- stealing tactics put in place two years ago, which the state of Florida already agreed needed to be corrected, but will not fix until after this vote.  Harvey Pitt's days at the SEC may be numbered.  Tommy Thompson at Health and Human Services continues to politicize scientific committees, this time packing a lead poisoning group with industry representatives.  Some slow progress on legal penalties for Enron and Andersen.

#34: October 25, 2002
Senator Paul Wellstone is killed in a plane crash, just after the launch of a massive out-of-state ad campaign against him.  The effort to start a war against Iraq not only involves covering up the North Korean nuclear weapons effort for more than a year, it even involves setting up radical Islamists, probably sympathetic to Al Qaeda, as the forces we will back against Saddam Hussein.  We promise Jordan half a billion a year to cover any Iraq war-related losses they suffer.  Germany complains that we're no longer helping them track Al Qaeda, apparently just because of a petty snit over their opposition to an Iraq war.  Bush pretends to rein in pharmaceutical industry legal abuses.

#33: October 18, 2002
Congressional reform measures are lost in the frenzy over Iraq; we don't know if they will ever finish the corporate reform effort they began so enthusiastically.  But at least Andrew Fastow has finally been arrested.  A look back at the war against Mexico in 1846 as a parallel to current efforts to wage unprovoked wars.  A brief listing of many corruption-themed news items over the several weeks since the last update.

#32: September 15, 2002
Even the effort to start a war against Iraq is tainted by bribery, as the Bush administration starts handing out favors to foreign governments considering whether to back our call for war.  Various favors flow in and out of Florida, involving multiple Bushes, former Enron subsidiaries and other Bush donor companies, and a considerable amount of taxpayers' money.  However, some of the more reprehensible special interest measures now being considered by Congress are losing steam.  We learn about some tax avoidance tricks that can only be used if you have at least $5,000,000, and about how "Leave No Child Behind" means leaving every method of teaching reading, except phonics, behind.  The Federal Election Commission considers unilaterally brushing aside most real campaign funding limits, no matter what Congress thinks the law is.

#31: September 7, 2002
Congress is well on its way to fumbling some of the most obviously needed reforms emerging not only from Enron, but from the Florida election fiasco.  The US position at the Johannesberg summit eventually reduces other delegates to jeers and heckling.  Dick Cheney stands on executive privilege and refuses to obey subpoenas.  An Enron-tainted judge that Bush nominated for the court of appeals is rejected... but she's not the worst nominee.  San Francisco makes another try at public power.

#30: September 1, 2002
The Earth Summit in Johannesburg is, on the surface, snubbed by the USA, but our delegation twists arms behind the scenes to the point where the conference nearly falls apart.  Thomas White is reportedly kept on, despite severe scandal, to act as a lightning rod to protect Bush.  An analysis of congressional spending shows that democratic districts benefited when democrats had the majority, and when republicans had the majority, their districts benefited too -- by a far larger amount.  Corporate welfare, such as the recent farm bill, is a big factor in this.  The GOP more or less admits publicly that they are pushing a further tax cut that they (fortunately) don't expect to be able to pass, just because they don't have much else to campaign on.

#29: August 26, 2002
An ex-congressman and friend of Cheney who is on the board of El Paso Natural Gas is accused by his ex-wife of having the company offer her hush money to not tell what she knows.  The first Enron executive to plead guilty is Michael Kopper.  Some progress is finally happening on recovering money from those responsible.  Bush tours the west to protests (as he promotes cutting down trees to prevent forest fires) and fundraising dinners with last minute discounts.  A newspaperman who specialized in Enron and related stories falls to his death.

#28: August 20, 2002
Bush suddenly notices that there's a budget deficit, and vetoes a bill which manages to offend the groups he least wants to get protests from: firefighters and police.  His administration is still doing assorted special favors for groups ranging from ocean polluters to the state of Utah, including opening up the Canyons of the Ancients national monument to drilling.  The GOP has been thwarted in trying to persuade congressional budget analysis to adopt its wishful-thinking methods of projecting tax revenue.  Bush distances himself a bit from Bill Simon, but not from big California donors who smell even worse.  His new rules for privacy of medical records basically eliminate that privacy.  Companies fighting to preserve offshore tax shelters hire ex-congressmen as their most effective lobbyists.  Five Enron executives claim they should be paid millions apiece by the bankruptcy court.

#27: August 8, 2002
Now the State Department intervenes to try to protect Exxon from being sued by Indonesians who say the company hired thugs to beat and rape them.  They claim that allowing Exxon to be sued would hamper the War on Terror.  The pharmaceutical industry gets caught in a widening net of lawsuits.  A detente between the two parties over Congressional ethics violations shows some cracks.  The state of California defies FERC's attempts to take over local regulatory powers.

#26: August 5, 2002
Bush is still getting caught in lies about his record at Harken Energy.  Support for offshore tax havens is finally eroding.  Halliburton may be losing big bucks over asbestos, but its subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root is still getting unusually juicy military contracts.  The administration moves to water down the new corporate responsibility bill as soon as Bush signs it.  FERC attempts to seize control of much of electricity regulation from state authorities, provoking a storm of protest across the west.  Prosecutors investigate whether Enron used bribery to get contracts overseas.  Microsoft gets the State Department to help them lean on the government of Peru.  Saudi Arabia shows alarming signs of destabilizing.

#25: July 27, 2002
A progress report on the state legislature's investigation of Enron and the other companies that stole $45,000,000,000 from the state by manipulating the electricity market.  An experiment with power deregulation in New Delhi produces -- surprise -- shortages and high prices.  John McCain fights the Federal Election Commission's attempt to sabotage his campaign finance reform law.  Many companies join the list of those in trouble, including one involving governor Jeb Bush.  The press presses the White House over Harken and Halliburton, to little visible effect.  Bush is still doing new favors for the energy and pharmaceutical industries.  A mixture of small victories and defeats on many corruption-related measures before Congress, from bankruptcy reform to fast-track trade authority.

#24: July 20, 2002
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announces new rules for electricity pricing, which look suspiciously like an attempt to let generators bring back shortages and high prices in California, in a less obvious and extreme form.

#23: July 11, 2002
Bush gives a much-anticipated Wall Street speech on corporate responsibility; investors are unimpressed.  SEC head Harvey Pitt is under increasing attack for his cosiness with the companies he's supposed to police; he used to represent them against the SEC.  Merck pharmaceuticals, one of the companies in trouble, turns out to have plenty of Bush "access", like Enron had.

#22: July 4, 2002
Bush decides that the need to "restore investor confidence" -- that is, to stop a godawful slide in the stock market -- requires that he smite the corporate evildoers, but he is still resisting reforms behind the scenes.  At the same time, information comes out about how, when Bush himself was under scrutiny for the same kind of scam, his father's appointee at the SEC killed the investigation.  In California, the PUC keeps ratepayers' prices high, to pay off the state's debt to the companies that ripped it off, and the legislature passes the state's first automotive greenhouse gases law.

#21: July 1, 2002
Now that so many corporations have had to clean up their accounting and report their revenues honestly, the one institution guilty of grossly inflating revenues with funny accounting is the Republican party, in its efforts to promote more tax cuts despite the previous one having caused a big deficit.

#20: June 30, 2002
We learn of the Bush administration's acquiescence to the coal industry lobby, prompting one internal resignation.  The US Trustee assigned to the PG&E bankruptcy case is fired by Attorney General Ashcroft, apparently for being too pro-consumer.  Halliburton is sued by its stockholders for the fraudulent profit reporting instituted by Dick Cheney.  Dozens of companies have to restate their earnings; some are in legal trouble.  Ross Perot, of all people, turns out to be one of the guilty parties in the scams that ripped off the state of California.  Meanwhile, the GOP works to allow tax exempt churches more leeway for political activism, and the snowmobile lobby has no trouble getting Bush to stop a ban on snowmobiling in Yellowstone.  Vladimir Putin praises Bush as the most effective lobbyist for American corporations.  The EPA embarrasses Bush with a report saying that global warming is a real problem and we have a responsibility to do something about it.  Long term projections show that talk of how that would hurt the economy is exaggerated.

#19: June 29, 2002
The Corporate Responsibility Scandal is now the front burner issue in Washington.  The media has lost much diffidence on the subject.  MCI Worldcom goes belly-up, leaving a bad smell behind.  Andersen is found guilty of destroying evidence.  Bush floats trial balloons about possibly taking a firm stand against financial shenanigans and punishing cheaters, maybe.  The White House tries hard to quiet down talk about Harken and Halliburton, the companies in which Bush and Cheney were guilty of the exact sorts of crookedness that everybody is now out to police.  Meanwhile, the Federal Election Commission decides it doesn't feel like enforcing the McCain-Feingold bill, even though it's now law.  And it turns out that the power generating companies in California are still holding down the electricity supply.

#18: June 1, 2002
The first power alert since the crisis hits California.  Dynegy, and other Enron competitors, are in increasing legal and financial trouble, and so are the banks that financed them.  Phil Gramm, once Enron's favorite senator, is now fighting to block reform of the financial industry.  Much grandstanding in Washington.  The GOP still resists reform of offshore incorporation to avoid taxes, and pushes a bankruptcy reform bill that guts protections for the middle class but makes it easier for the rich to protect assets.

#17: May 19, 2002
Enron's lawyers now claim that after the internal memos that detail the scams they were using to raise California electricity prices were written, they promptly stopped committing these frauds.  But the worst of the artificial shortages came after that time.  We learn how fellow crooked companies Enron and Global Crossing cooperated to hide debts and inflate earnings reports, via a round-trip deal with each other that both reported as a big profit.  Joe Lieberman makes like he's fighting for consumers.  A White House memo reveals instructions to downplay the California power crisis.  Energy secretary Spencer Abraham still defends the lie that the crisis was caused by inadequate generators and transmission lines, though the same generators and lines worked fine in 1999, when demand was higher than it has been since.  Bush announces the US will not participate in the 2005 follow-up to the Kyoto Conference on dealing with climate change.

#16: May 11, 2002
Enron's internal papers reveal their knowledge of using fraudulent means to push electricity prices up.  California officials appeal to the Attorney General, John Ashcroft, to help them get some money back.  But Ashcroft's dealings with polluter Koch Industries show him to be someone who might let any corporation get away with anything.

#15: May 4, 2002
In the White House they're passing out questionnaires to ask everybody what their Enron involvement has been.  A subsidiary of Cheney's former company Halliburton gets a rather unusual (and lucrative) contract to provide services in Afghanistan that would normally be done by soldiers.  A bit about Halliburton's unflattering history with the IRS.  The US Senate investigates price fixing in the gasoline market.  Three petrochemical companies lose a class-action suit over the gasoline additive MTBE.  The ethanol that's supposed to replace MTBE is being produced in a polluting manner, but cleanup is promised.  The mainstream media finally concludes that the electric power crisis in California was manufactured through fraud and bribery, which the liberal fringe press (and this website) reported a year earlier while the big news companies remained remarkably oblivious.

#14: April 29, 2002
Enron's executives (like those at PG&E, and many other companies) responded to the bankruptcy by sharing big chunks of the remaining cash among themselves; the SEC tried to force them to justify the move, but failed to convince a judge to block it.  We learn the tale of two California state senators who solicited money from Enron right in the middle of the legislature's investigation into the electricity crisis.  More memos show the dealings of non-Enron energy industry lobbyists with the Cheney energy policy task force.  Democrats say Republicans are watering down new bills that deal with financial industry conflicts of interest.

#13: April 14, 2002
The exact techniques that Enron, and other power companies, used to manipulate the electricity market in California emerge.  Many of them involve sending electricity on round trips out of state and back in, clogging transmission lines (either in reality or just on paper), wasting energy, and raising prices at both ends.  Other tricks used at different times amount to "megawatt laundering", and even "selling the same electrons twice" in the early stages, according to state officials.  Despite this, generators still deny responsibility for the spiral of high electricity prices.  One of the chief implementors of these fraud techniques was Army secretary Thomas White.  Meanwhile, coal power companies are fighting to exempt themselves from pollution laws.  Cheney and Bush are cooperating with them.

#12: April 4-9, 2002
A small White House scandal involving a Taiwanese slush fund emerges.  Andersen loses business right and left and has to lay off employees; their CEO resigns.  Energy secretary Spencer Abraham releases some subpoenaed documents, and large numbers of them turn out to have the significant information censored out.  Even the uncensored portion shows the administration following the wishes of industrial lobbyists and ignoring environmental groups.  Pressure increases on Army secretary Thomas White, formerly of Enron.

#11: March 22-25, 2002
Phil Gramm, Enron's pet senator, still defends them, and the White House's relations with them.  Senator McCain finally passes his campaign finance reform bill, putting Bush into an awkward bind.  Senator Mitch McConnell, an ardent foe of reform, hires Kenneth Starr to argue against it in court.  William Greider names democrats tainted by Enron, most prominently Joe Lieberman.

#10: March 15, 2002
Andersen is indicted for shredding Enron papers.  The other auditors are rumored to be no cleaner.  California sues four power generating companies.  Congress defeats the auto mileage bill, with the auto industry handing out rather modest campaign contributions to those voting against it.  Some observations about the passivity and ineffectiveness of today's news media, who do far less real reporting than they used to.

#9: March 6, 2002
Two judges order Dick Cheney and six federal agencies to hand over Enron-related documents.  Compliance is slow.  Wall Street analysts come under fire for hyping Enron stock even after it was clearly going bad.  Rumors about Enron's sleazy internal culture.  A list of well-known journalists who took Enron money.

#8: February 26, 2002
The Senate debates the Bush energy plan.  Bush stands in front of hybrid cars to promote the plan's alleged ecological value, though it's the same policy Dick Cheney got from Enron last year, full of rewards to the energy industry, including outright corporate welfare.  The auto industry fights a move to require higher mileage from SUVs.  California struggles with FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) over possible refunds for electricity ripoffs.  Bill Moyers looks into Enron's machinations to manipulate FERC, including installing its current head.  Texas Republicans sue over enronownsthegop.com.  The Center for Public Integrity concludes that corporate tax cheaters costs the average taxpayer $1600 per year.

#7: February 14, 2002
Kenneth Lay takes the fifth, like most of his cohorts.  Congress wrestles with the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, always defeated in the past -- this time, the effort has broad support.  Rumors that Dick Cheney will resign.  Bush announces a plan to deal with global warming: entirely voluntary, with complete exemptions for power plants, and its most optimistic target is modest relative to the Kyoto Protocol.

#6: February 4-8, 2002
Congressional investigations into Enron are under way, and executives start taking the fifth.  Governor Jeb Bush denies contacts with Enron, and turns out to be lying.  Investigative bodies start demanding Enron-related documents from the White House, and from the Department of Defense.  Andersen attempts to clean up its act.

#5: February 2002
How almost all politicians, except Ralph Nader, enthusiastically supported the California utility deregulation measure at the time it was passed... though a similar measure in England had resulted in shortages and rising prices.

#4: February 1, 2002
A "smoking gun" memo from Enron chairman Ken Lay to Dick Cheney's energy policy task force is revealed, showing whose instructions the task force was following.  Many California officials tell how they were denied access to the group that Enron was granted, during the height of the electricity crisis.  Enron paid journalists to influence coverage.  And they hired Robert Reed of the Christian Coalition to mobilize the Christian right behind Enron's brand of utility deregulation.

#3: January 29, 2002
Enron is sued by its employees, trying to recover some of the cash that its executives have hidden away overseas.  The Bush administration, it turns out, blocked a Clinton-era move to dig into overseas bank accounts, shell corporations, and tax shelters, which are widely used by organized crime and terrorist groups.  Dick Cheney refuses to let the public know how his energy policy task force arrived at its recommendations.  Bush and his spokesmen attempt feeble lies to distance themselves from Enron and Ken Lay, but the deep entanglement between Enron and the Republican party is now clear.  How Enron ripped off Dabhol, India -- they not only got $3,000,000,000 for a power plant that only ran for a few years, but paid local police to attack protesters in their homes.  Uncertainty about whether the death of Enron executive Cliff Baxter was a suicide.

#2:  January 2002
Enron's role in engineering the California "deregulation" debacle starts coming out.  We learn that Enron had almost a thousand offshore shell corporations, and received huge refunds from the IRS while rarely paying any taxes.  PG&E is in bankruptcy court, and trying to stick ratepayers with all of their debts while keeping their cash.

#1:  December 1, 2001
After the California electricity crisis has been brought under control, an unexpected consequence is that the giant electricity company Enron suddenly collapses into bankruptcy.  It soon becomes apparent that their auditor, Andersen, collaborated in grossly dishonest reporting of the company's financial condition.

Background (2001)
My original page on the California electricity crisis, from which this page is an outgrowth.