The Beginning of the Enron Paper Trail
George W. is back-pedaling as fast as he can to distance himself from Enron and his former buddy, Kenneth Lay. To convince the American public that "Kenny Boy's" business scandal had nothing to do with his presidency, Bush has insisted that Kenny is just another supporter, one step above persona non grata.
But TheSmokingGun.com, a site owned by Court TV, has posted a series of original documents that paint a much cozier picture of Dubya and Kenny Boy. The letters range from jocular and handwritten notes, to invitations, to lengthy documents. It's a firsthand look at the tight friendship between the man responsible for our country's ugliest, largest and most damaging corporate bankruptcy to date, and our president.
Included in the bunch is the March 18, 1997 letter where Lay wrote to Bush, "Congress is considering the authorization and the appropriation legislation regarding the Oversease Private Investment Corporation... We respectfully request that you contact each Member of Congress in your delegation and detail why OPIC and EX-IM Bank are important to your state."
OPIC and the Export-Import Bank were crucial to Enron. Through those two institutions, the U.S. government became a major backer of Enron's overseas expansion. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Since 1992, OPIC provided about $1.7 billion for Enron's foreign deals and promised $500 million more for projects that didn't go forward. The Export-Import Bank put about $700 million into Enron's foreign ventures. Both agencies provide financing and political-risk insurance for foreign projects undertaken by U.S. companies."
That means taxpayer dollars went to help Enron, and even more may go to help bail Enron out.
Less than a month later, George Bush wrote a different kind of letter to Kenneth Lay:
Dear Ken:Are those the words of a president to a simple "supporter," as the administration would now have us believe?
One of the sad things about old friends is that they seem to be getting older -- just like you!
55 years old. Wow! That is really old.
Thank goodness you have such a young, beautiful wife.
Laura and I value our friendship with you. Best wishes to Linda, your family, and friends.
Your younger friend,
George W. Bush