- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 24, 2002

The Justice Department's Enron Task Force this week obtained guilty pleas from Michael Kopper, a highly placed Enron executive. Kopper, who pleaded guilty to money-laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, is in a position to implicate other senior Enron executives, including former Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow.
Having bagged Kopper Wednesday and obtained from him an agreement to forfeit $12 million in ill-gotten gains, federal prosecutors wasted little time in pursuit of Mr. Fastow and others. Government prosecutors immediately sought from the federal court in Houston an order to seize nearly $25 million in assets from Mr. Fastow, his friends and members of his family, all of whom Kopper evidently implicated in various extraordinarily complex fraud schemes.
Since Enron declared bankruptcy in December, wiping out the firm's market capitalization that once exceeded $50 billion, Democrats have feverishly sought to politicize the fallout. In a blistering speech earlier this month at the Democrats' summer meeting in Las Vegas, for example, Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe raised Enron's accounting irregularities in a broad-based attack on the Republican administration. For months, congressional Democrats, in an effort to politically profit from the Enron scandal in the fall elections, have relentlessly criticized what they have perceived to be an egregiously slow investigation of Enron.
Yet, as former federal prosecutor Robert Mintz has said, "The allegations at WorldCom and Adelphia are addition and subtraction." By contrast, Mr. Mintz said, "Enron is calculus."
And so it is, according to details in the criminal information prosecutors filed in the Kopper case. Based on those details, Democrats may yet rue the day they sought to hang Enron around the neck of the Bush White House. As it happens, the Enron-related criminal and conspiratorial activities to which Kopper pleaded guilty began in 1997.
For example, Enron illegally established the so-called RADR entity in August 1997, the same month that Enron Chairman Ken Lay visited the White House to confer with President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and other senior officials. According to a subsequent Enron memo, Mr. Lay convinced Messrs. Clinton, Gore and Rubin to adopt a global-warming strategy in Kyoto, Japan, that would be "good for Enron stock" and would "do more to promote Enron's business than almost any other regulatory inititiative."
Meanwhile, with Enron having bankrolled the Democratic Party with a $100,000 soft-money contribution in 1996, Time magazine reported in 1997 that Mr. Clinton had taken a personal interest in Enron's power plant in India. To help underwrite that venture, which proved to be a colossal failure, the Export-Import Bank extended a $298 million taxpayer-subsidized loan and another federal agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corp., added $100 million. Also in 1997, Enron established the Chewco off-the-books partnership, which returned more than $12 million to Kopper and his domestic partner, who together invested $125,000. Kopper claims a portion of those returns were given to Mr. Fastow as kickbacks.
By all means, let us satiate the Democrats' thirst for more Enron indictments.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide