The current Enron scandal is just the latest example of how politicians in Washington, D.C., are beholden to big money corporate donors. It also helps explain why nothing changes in Washington, D.C., no matter which party is in power.
A search of Enron’s political contribution list reveals that, like all mega-corporations, ideology means nothing. While Enron supported more Republicans than Democrats, the Democratic Party fared very nicely from Enron’s contributions. In fact, nearly half of all Congressmen and Senators received contributions from the now scandal-ridden corporation. The number of current Senators receiving Enron contributions total 71, while 187 current Congressmen directly benefited from its generosity.
In the Senate, Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison received $99,500 while Democrat Charles Schumer earned $21,933. In the House, Democrat Ken Bentsen pulled in $42,750 and Republican Joe Barton got $28,909. When it comes to buying influence, big corporate contributors have few preferences. They are all equal opportunity favor-seekers; and favors they get!
Enron executives reportedly gave over $600,000 to Bush’s two gubernatorial campaigns and were very influential in his decision to deregulate the Texas energy markets in 1999. Enron executives are also believed to have been major players in Vice President Cheney’s energy task force last year. Enron ties are also seen in the Clinton White House.
Influence peddling is certainly nothing new. What does seem to be new is the public’s attitude about it: they do not mind it! It appears that the American people have come to accept political corruption as normal and even understandable. Therefore, do not expect much political fallout from the Enron scandal.
For one thing, the investigators and the investigated are on the take from the same people. Accordingly, while there may be one or two sacrificial lambs offered on the altar of public conscience, the (big) people that got the money will keep the money, and the (little) people that lost the money -well – they lost the money; and, once again, on the whole, the American people seem fine with that.
Remember, too, that President Bush (as Clinton did before him) has sealed all of the presidential records (including his, daddy Bush’s, and Clinton’s) so that the dirty truth of this (and every other scandal) can stay safely tucked away. This is known as “The Potomac Shuffle,” and it works every time.
Of course, the American people could wake up one day and demand honesty and integrity in government, but that would stymie the New World Order, force corporate America to put America first, and make politicians accountable to the Constitution once again. No, it seems that people are content to let favor-seeking donors rule Washington, D.C.
I do wish that people would stop the rhetoric about there being this big difference between the two major parties, however. There is not. They are both beholden to the same people. The Enron scandal proves it.