"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Enron Scandal: Part IV, the Cheney Energy Plan

The Cheney Energy Plan
William Gillespie, former Bush campaign aid was paid $525,000 to lobby the Bush administration to support ENRON-backed energy policies. Gillespie was in touch with energy task force staffers and the Energy Department. He also played a major role in getting repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax into the Economic Stimulus Bill that passed the House of Representatives. That measure also carried a provision permitting firms to immediately take outstanding tax credits. In the case of Enron, that amounts to $254 million.
The Bush energy plan was developed in secret by Vice President Cheney and passed in 2005 in proceedings often clouded in secrecy. There were efforts to open the task force records, but they were successfully blocked in the courts. The Bush administration acknowledged that Vice President met with Enron executives six times about the proceedings of his energy task force. More complete information about its proceedings has not yet become available. It is known, however, that representatives of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and as well as Carl Pope, director of the Sierra Club, were given an audience with the vice president only after the details of the energy plan had been made public. The deliberations of the energy task force resulted in quick approval for controversial of the pebble-bed nuclear reactor of Exelon Corporation. The firm, which has made large contributions to the Republican Party, insists that the design will provide safer cheap power in abundance, but environmentalists dispute these claims. ( )

The Bush-Cheney energy plan called for a 21 billion dollar subsidy for the energy industry. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham played an important part in formulating it. His department spokesman admitted that Abraham had met with thirty six energy executives while formulating the plan. When the initial documents on the planning process were finally released, it became clear that me met with 109 energy executives and that he had no discussions with environmentalists or representatives of consumer groups. The firms they represented had given $16.6 million to the GOP since 1999 and about a third that much to the Democrats. A number of the plan’s proposals were positive responses to requests by energy giant Enron. One of them called for the repeal of the Public Holding Company Act of 1935, which was an obstacle to the firm’s acquisitions plans.( ) Threatened by the possibility of a court order, the Energy Task Force released 11,000 of 25,000 relevant pages of documents in late March. The National Resources Defense Council, who had sued to see the documents, stated that the documents were marked by many deletions but that it was still clear that the energy plan was essentially the handiwork of the energy companies. ( )

The energy plan mirrored policies advocated by Enron. It called for 17 policies advocated by Enron. A section was even added calling for increased energy production in India. Enron and the Indian government were involved in a dispute over Enron’s $2.9 billion investment in a Dabhol, Indian plant. Comparing drafts of the energy play, Congressman Henry Waxman discovered that section calling for increased energy production in India was a last minute addition, presumably to help Enron. The General Accounting Office went to court in late January 2002 to compel the Vice President to reveal who were the members of his energy task force. This was the first time in its 81 year history that the GAO had to sue the White House. It was public knowledge that he met with Enron officials at least six times about matters before the task force. Federal district Judge John D. Bates, a G.W. Bush appointee, was selected to preside over the case. He had been Kenneth Starr’s deputy in the Whitewater probe. In December, 2002, he upheld the Bush-Cheney position. However, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Judicial Watch also brought suite, and the likelihood that this litigation would be successful prompted administration to begin to release small amounts of information in late March. The case ultimately wound up in the court of Judge Emmet Sullivan who set and extended a deadline for releasing documents. Several days before Bates rendered his decision, a federal appeals court extended indefinitely the deadline for releasing the documents. After the GOP took control of both chambers. The decision not to continue the litigation was made with the advice of the Congressional leadership. Representative Henry Waxman of California saw it as an important step away from open government.( )

Sherman has written African American Baseball: A brief History, which can be acquired from LuLu Publishing on line.

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Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!