Web posted Jan. 11, 2002
(WASHINGTON, Jan. 11) Fourteen of the top 100 officials in the Bush administration owned stock in embattled energy services firm Enron, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Bush administration personal financial disclosure forms. Their holdings were worth-at the time of their filings-between $284,016 and $886,000. (See the table below.)
Revelations about Enron's financial losses and accounting practices caused the share price to plunge significantly since the officials filed their disclosure forms. Some of the 14 officials have sold their shares since they filed their personal disclosure forms.
These findings are from an unprecedented Center analysis of the finances and professional affiliations of the top 100 Bush administration officials, from the President to cabinet undersecretaries to the heads of independent agencies. The full report and searchable database will be released on the Public i site Monday morning, Jan. 14.
In addition to the 14 who owned stock in Enron, two officials had professional ties to Enron. National Economic Council Director Lawrence Lindsey served as a consultant to Enron when he was managing director of Economic Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm. He also served on Enron's board of advisers. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, who owned stock in Enron, also served on its advisory council, earning a $50,000 fee for his time.
Among the largest Enron shareholders, according the personal financial disclosure forms, are senior adviser to the President Karl Rove and Undersecretary of State Charlotte Beers, who each held between $100,001 and $250,000 of stock when their forms were filed. Others include Zoellick and Undersecretary of Commerce Grant Aldonas, who each owned between $15,001 and $50,000 of stock when they were nominated.
Aldonas' boss, Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill were the two officials contacted by Enron CEO Kenneth Lay last October. The first calls came after Enron reported a third quarter loss of $618 million and revealed that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating the company.
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Enron, in its contacts with O'Neill and Evans, suggested that its dire financial situation could have broad implications for the economy.
Fleischer said that O'Neill, in response to the calls from Enron, "contacted Undersecretary [Peter R.] Fisher, Undersecretary Fisher looked at that and concluded there would be no more impact on the overall economy."
Fisher was one of the 14 who owned stock in Enron at the time he filed his financial disclosure. He valued his holdings within a range of $1,001 and $15,000.
Among the report's other significant findings was that the largest sector in which the administration is invested, in terms of maximum dollar value, is the energy sector, with some 221 investments worth up to $144.6 million.
Officials Who Owned Enron Stock
* Two separate holdings
Derrick Wetherell is a writer at the Center. To write a letter to the editor for
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2012, The Center for Public Integrity. All rights reserved.
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