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W.House Changed Draft Plan to Help Enron-Lawmaker
Sat Jan 26, 2:29 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House apparently changed a draft energy proposal circulated by the State Department last year to add a provision aimed at helping energy-trader Enron Corp. in India, a Democratic lawmaker says.
Rep. Henry Waxman of California wrote Friday to Vice President Dick Cheney, who headed the administration's energy policy task force, to point out the change.
A week ago Waxman said he had found 17 policies in the White House's May 2001 energy plan, including the India provision, that were either advocated by Enron or benefited Enron.
He said in his letter to Cheney on Friday that it now appeared the India provision had been missing from the draft energy policy proposal circulated by the State Department during an interagency review in March 2001.
"Instead, the provision appears to have been added to the plan during the period in which the White House directly controlled the drafting," Waxman wrote.
The White House has strongly denied that its energy plan was crafted to help Enron, President Bush's biggest political patron, and has sought to keep the financial scandal around the now-collapsed energy trader from spreading to the Bush administration.
The added provision recommended that the U.S. secretaries of state and energy help India maximize its domestic oil and gas production, Waxman said.
"The energy plan does not discuss this recommendation or explain why maximizing oil and gas production in India should be a U.S. national energy priority," Waxman said in his letter to Cheney, a copy of which was provided to Reuters.
But he asserted that the recommendation "benefited Enron by formally enlisting two Cabinet secretaries in Enron's conflict with the Indian government."
Enron's $2.9 billion gas-fired power plant and adjacent liquefied natural gas facility at Dabhol, about 155 miles (250 km) south of Bombay, has been idle since last June due to a tariff dispute with the government.
Last week the White House acknowledged that the administration had intervened with Indian officials last year in a bid to salvage the Dabhol plant, and also noted that former President Clinton's commerce secretaries had made similar appeals on behalf of Dabhol.
But the White House has rebuffed calls by Waxman and other lawmakers for the energy task force's records. On Friday the head of the Congress' auditing arm, the General Accounting Office, said he would decide within days whether to take the administration to court to try to get the records.
-- The Bush and Dick Show (As the scandal unfolds @ the shit just gets deeper, and deeper, and...), January 27, 2002
Lesson for Repugs: Never hire crooked businessmen to act as politicians. You may think they will help your investments, but in the long run you still get screwed.
-- (take the @ money. "en ron"), January 28, 2002.