|No Layoffs Here |
Follow the Money
Following the money is the key to understanding the Bush administration. Once you figure out who gave how much, look for the quid pro quo. Take, for example, Enron, the big Texas natural gas and trading company, and its current chairman Ken Lay. He's friends with, and was a backer of, the president's father. As Business Week sets it out, Lay stepped in after Bush Sr. got beaten by Clinton in 1992, arranging a stopover at Enron for ex-secretary of state James Baker and former commerce secretary Robert Mosbacher, who became consultants.
Enron ponied up $500,000 for Dubya's Texas gubernatorial campaigns, making it his largest single contributor. During last year's presidential campaign, the firm contributed corporate jets to the Republicans and gave $250,000 for their convention in Philadelphia, Business Week reports, while Lay himself plunked down $100,000 for the inaugural committee and was Bush's adviser on energy during the campaign. Enron's total listed contributions to the Republicans during last year's presidential race ran to $1.8 million, according to Public Citizen.
Lay currently is a prominent adviser to Spencer Abraham, the free-trade maniac who is secretary of energy. From Enron's point of view, this puts Lay in the catbird seat. Abraham is the member of the Bush team who deals with the energy crisis in California, where Enron is a major supplier. Recently, Abraham infuriated Western governors—some of them Republicans—by refusing to consider government price controls to halt runaway energy prices.