Bush Helped Promote Enron's Business Interests

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Bush Helped Promote Enron's Business Interests

Feb. 15, 2002 - Public Citizen press release

Newly Released Documents Indicate that as Texas Governor, Bush Helped Promote
Enron's Business Interests

AUSTIN, Texas - Documents obtained by Public Citizen on Friday suggest
that as governor of Texas, President Bush helped promote Enron Corp.'s forei
gn and domestic business agenda on behalf of company CEO Kenneth Lay.

The documents were among 350 pages of Bush records released by Bush's
father's presidential library, where Bush sent them, after a request by
Public Citizen under the state's open records law.

Though Bush has tried to distance himself from Ken Lay following
the implosion of Enron and the loss of billions of dollars by investors
and employees, the documents include handwritten letters exchanged between
Lay and Bush reflecting a personal relationship. They also show Lay
requently sought help from Bush. Lay and Enron have contributed $736,800
to Bush's political career, including his 1994 and 1998 campaigns for
governor, his 2000 presidential campaign, and his recount and inaugural

"These documents suggest that Bush was acting as promoter-in-chief
for Enron and its business interests at a time when he was getting ready
to raise money for his run for president," said Public Citizen President
Joan Claybrook. "They certainly raise questions about how far Bush went
to help Enron and what other favors he might have done."

In 1999, Lay sent Bush a letter asking him to meet with the Romanian
prime minister when he visited Houston. Lay noted that Enron had just
finalized a gas marketing joint venture with Petrom and had a Bucharest
office. Lay noted that "we are committed to participation in the Romania
energy and water markets."

In 1997, Lay sent Bush a letter noting that Bush would be meeting
with Uzbekistan's ambassador and saying that Enron was negotiating a $2
billion joint venture to develop Uzbekistan's natural gas. Lay noted that
"this project can bring significant economic opportunities to Texas" and
said that "I am delighted that the two of you are meeting."

In 1997, Lay sent Bush a letter thanking him for calling then-Pennsylvania
Gov. Tom Ridge, noting that "I am certain that will have a positive
impact on the way he and others in Pennsylvania view our proposal to
provide cheaper electricity to consumers."

In 1997, Lay sent Bush a letter thanking him for his efforts to find a
middle ground on the debate regarding electricity industry restructuring
in Texas. "Thanks to your leadership . . .  we made significant progress
towards the goal of making the state's electricity industry fully
competitive. . . . Enron looks forward to continuing to work with you."

In 1998, Lay, as chair of the governor's business council, sent a letter
to Bush thanking him for his "outstanding and committed leadership"
in getting eight bills passed that made changes to the legal system to
help business.

In 1998, Lay wrote Bush to bring his attention to a federal tax
bill relating to wind production tax credits that Lay was supporting for
Enron's wind energy business and asked Bush to send a letter to U.S.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer in support of the

Last week, Public Citizen obtained documents showing that Lay made a number
of recommendations to Bush, as governor of Texas, for appointments to
public office.


Public Citizen is a nationwide nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.
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