Earth To Rep. Scalise: Enron Had Ties To Republicans, Not Al Gore

April 24, 2009 2:57 pm ET

On April 24, 2009, during a House Energy Committee hearing, Rep. Steve Scalise asked former Vice President Al Gore about a meeting he had with Enron's Kenneth Lay in 1997. Seemingly, Rep. Scalise was trying to discredit Vice President Gore and the whole concept of "cap-and-trade" by tying them to the corrupt energy executive. Unfortunately for Rep. Scalise, Lay played an important role in helping defeat Vice President Gore in 2000. That 1997 meeting must not have gone so well.

Rep. Scalise Suggested That Gore Was Influenced By Enron

Rep. Scalise: It's my understanding that back in 1997, when you were Vice President, Enron's CEO, Ken Lay, was involved in discussion with you at the White House about helping develop this type of policy, this trading scheme.  Is that accurate, is it inaccurate, it's been reported...

Gore: Uh, I don't know.  I met with Ken Lay, as lots of people did, before anybody knew that he was a crook.

Scalise: Right, and clearly you can see why so many of us are concerned about this type of cap-and-trade energy tax that would be literally turning over this country's energy economy.

Gore: I didn't know him well enough to call him Kenny Boy [as President Bush did].

Scalise: But you knew him well enough to help devise this trading scheme...

[House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 4/24/09]

Enron Supported George W. Bush

Enron Employees Donated $623,000 To George W. Bush.  In 2002, the Center for Public Integrity wrote: "Employees and directors of Enron have given $623,000 to Bush over the course of his political career. That includes $220,700 from the executives and directors." [Center for Public Integrity, 1/9/02]

Lay Supported George W. Bush

Lay Donated $166,500 To George W. Bush.  According to the Center for Public Integrity, Kenneth Lay donated $166,500 to George W. Bush between January 1999 and November 2001. [Center for Public Integrity, 1/9/02]

As A Fundraiser, Lay Was One Of The Bush "Pioneers"

Lay Raised Over $100,000 For George W. Bush. According to the Center for Public Integrity: "Lay, a one-time energy policy maker for Richard Nixon, was one of the 214 Bush 'Pioneers,' supporters who raised at least $100,000 for the candidate. He also chipped in for Bush's Florida recount battle after the 2000 presidential election." [Center for Public Integrity, 1/9/02]

Enron Influenced Republicans

Enron's "Clout In Washington And The White House In Particular Is Well Known." According to the Center for Public Integrity: "The company's clout in Washington and the White House in particular is well known. It has long been tied to President Bush and powerful members of Congress from Texas including Sen. Phil Gramm, whose wife Wendy Gramm is an Enron director, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay and Majority Leader Dick Armey. Enron was the strongest proponent of deregulation of the electric utility industry and its chairman, Kenneth L. Lay, who apparently played an important role in the development of the Bush energy plan. Its campaign contributions and aggressive lobbying tactics were well known on Capitol Hill, and the company has often gotten its way on crucial legislative votes." [Center for Public Integrity, 1/9/02; emphasis added]