Another Enron Exec on the Public Payroll

Thomas White, the Secretary of the Army, seems to have pocketed $12 million in Enron stock sales through insider info. Why is he still on the public payroll?

Look out! Her comes another Enroner crashing and burning, like some corporate comet hitting an atmosphere of ethics.

This ex-Enron executive is Thomas White, who presently is U.S. Secretary of the Army. When appointing him last year to oversee the Army's $91 billion annual budget, George W bragged that White had great managerial experience, having been honcho of one of Enron's energy divisions. Since then, of course, we've learned that White's division was a Ponzi scheme that never actually made any money and was involved in the off-book accounting flim-flams that brought Enron down.

Now it turns out that Tommy Boy, as George W would call him, also lied to congress about his financial stake in Enron and about the contacts he made with his former corporate colleagues as the company was imploding. When he was appointed White promised to avoid conflicts of interest by selling his Enron stocks. But he didn't ... until Enron began to tank. Then, he quietly pocketed $12 million by selling Enron stock while rank and file Enron workers and small shareholders were still in the dark about the company's problems.

Did Secretary White get inside information? Previously, he had told congress that he had spoken with Enron executives only seven times last October, swearing that he was merely commiserating with them and not using his Pentagon position to help save the company. But now it's been revealed that he had six other phone chats with them that month -- during which he sold $3 million worth of his stock.

But wait, White also belatedly admits that during the several months last year when he was unloading stock, he made dozens of other phone calls to fellow Enroners to discuss "Enron's financial condition." In all, he concedes he called or met with Enron executives -- not seven times -- but 84 times!

This is Jim Hightower saying ... Hey, George W, why is this flim-flam Enroner still on our public payroll?