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Mullings by Rich Galen
A Political Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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    This Little Light of Mine

    Monday, February 4, 2002

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    • It was supposed to have been All-Enron-All-The-Time today as media spotlight focused on the parade of Enron players to Capitol Hill.

    • But Ken Lay's public relations blitz, having rung as hollow as his promises to his employees, and with the board of directors tossing him to the sharks with the release of an internal report over the weekend, he wisely decided to stay home and avoid footage of him taking the Fifth airing on every cable channel, every hour, for the rest of the year.

    • With Lay not testifying, perhaps this is the time for the national press corps to expand it's view of the money and influence issue beyond Enron and the Bush Administration.

    • For example Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's wife, Linda, is a transportation lobbyist.

    • Here's what appeared on the Common Cause web page last month complaining about the influence of transportation lobbyists on airline safety:
      "In December 2001, just before Congress recessed, airline lobbyists were on Capitol Hill shopping around an amendment TO DELAY BAGGAGE SCREENING REQUIREMENTS in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, signed into law on November 19, 2001." [emphasis mine]

    • Oh. You didn't know that Linda Daschle is a lobbyist for the airline industry? But you DID know that Ed Gillespie - who as far as we know is only married to Mrs. Gillespie - was a lobbyist for Enron?

    • Shocking.

    • Global Crossing went bust last week and DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe made $18 Million which does not appear to have been illegal or, as of this writing, even improper. However, according to Worth Magazine:
      "[I]n 1997, Los Angeles businessman Gary Winnick, also a Democratic donor, gave McAuliffe an early opportunity to invest $100,000 in Winnick's new company, Global Crossing, an owner and operator of undersea fiber-optic cables. When the stock subsequently soared, McAuliffe made a reported $18 million from that $100,000 investment. Two years later, MCAULIFFE ARRANGED FOR WINNICK TO PLAY GOLF WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON, AND WINNICK THEN GAVE A MILLION DOLLARS to help build Clinton's presidential library." [emphasis mine]

    • You didn't think, did you, that Global Crossing went to the Washington, DC phone book and picked McAuliffe, Terry by random chance, did you?

    • Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico is the CHAIRMAN of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee. In 2000 he received $23,374 from Enron and Andersen.

    • Haven't heard about that? Imagine. But, as they say on the info-mercials, wait! There's more!

    • Chairman Bingaman's wife, Anne Bingaman, appears to be a bit more than The Little Woman in that relationship as well. From the Center for Responsive Politics web page just last week:
      "When [Global Crossing's] competitors AT&T, MCI WorldCom and Sprint announced plans to jointly build a cable linking the U.S. and Japan in spring 1999, Global Crossing wasted no time in attempting to block the consortium's attempts to secure a license from the Federal Communications Commission. The company hired Anne Bingaman, a former assistant attorney general at the Justice Department and wife of Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), as their chief lobbyist on the issue. Between January and June 1999 alone, GLOBAL CROSSING PAID BINGAMAN $2.5 MILLION to lobby the issue, according to the company's lobbying records." [emphasis mine]

    • In addition, a peek at Senator Bingaman's financial disclosure statement for the year 2000 lists the following two-rails-in-the-corner-pocket financial transaction by his wife:
      Global Crossing, Ltd: Exercised options; purchase of stock 1/13/2000. [Value] Over $1,000,000.
      Global Crossing, Ltd: Sale of 80% of stock: 1/13/2000. [Value] Over $1,000,000.
      Global Crossing, Ltd: Capital gain: 1/13/2000. [Value] Over $1,000,000.

    • I think it's reasonable to suggest that Senator Bingaman knew nothing about this.
      SEN. BINGAMAN: (Looking up from his reading) Um, honey? I was just looking at our bank statement and there seems to be more than a million dollars in there.

      LOBBYIST BINGAMAN: (Chopping onions for dinner) Don't worry your pretty little head about it, Jeff.

      SEN. BINGAMAN: (Returning to his important Senate documents) Oh. Ok, then.

    • None of this diminishes the actions of the managers, executives and board members of Enron. But when the media spotlight is too brightly, and too tightly trained on one issue, everything else - no matter how important - remains in darkness.

    • If you haven't subscribed yet, today is a very good day for it. Go here to read about it. THEN DO IT! [emphasis mine]

      --END --
      Copyright © 2002 Richard A. Galen

                                                                           

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