AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR VIRGINIA VOTERS
"ENRON ED GILLESPIE"
Enron was the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history – and Ed Gillespie was their lobbyist. Enron paid Gillespie and his firm $700,000 to lobby for hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and to help them block regulation of the energy markets, so they could raise utility rates on you. When Enron collapsed in scandal, 20,000 employees lost their jobs, their healthcare, and life savings, while top executives were hauled off to prison. Ed Gillespie - the million dollar Washington lobbyist who put Enron ahead of you.
Gillespie Was Chosen To Represent Enron To Open Doors To White House And GOP Leadership On The Hill. According to the Washington Post, “on the eve of the 2000 election, Enron hired a Democratic official from the Treasury Department to run the company's Washington office. Sources say the move infuriated GOP House leaders, who retaliated by shutting Enron representatives out of several key strategy meetings on electricity legislation. Hoping to return to the GOP's good graces, the company in April 2001 hired the Washington lobbying firm of Quinn & Gillespie. Its senior partner, Ed Gillespie, had been a top campaign adviser to the new president, Bush. For the first of the year, Ed Gillespie and his the firm collected $525,000 $700,000 in fees from Enron, a hefty sum but well worth it, according to a former Enron employee. ‘It was Eddie [Gillespie], not Ken Lay, who got us to people in the White House and Congress,’ the employee said.” [Washington Post, 1/13/02, Lobby Disclosure, 1/1/01; Lobby Disclosure, 8/14/01, Lobby Disclosure 2/14/02]
2001: Gillespie Lobbied on Behalf of Enron, and Enron Helped Write The Bush Administration Energy Plan Which Recommended Deregulation Of The Energy Market. Gillespie's lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates was paid $700,000 by Enron for a one year contract, and Gillespie personally lobbied on behalf of the firm. Enron had major access to Cheney's Energy Task Force, which drafted the Bush Administration's energy plan. "Whenever we had to get in to see a Republican, the first call was to Gillespie," a former Enron executive told The Washington Post. [Washington Post, 1/26/02]
Gillespie Fought For $254 Million Tax Break For Enron. Between July And November 2001, Gillespie Reported Lobbying The House And Senate On Enron’s Behalf. According to his lobby disclosure report, Gillespie said he lobbied the House and Senate on “agricultural issues” on Enron’s behalf. And, according to the New York Times, “Officials of the Enron Corporation met four times last year with the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force to discuss energy policy matters, but they never talked about the company's finances, according to David S. Addington, Mr. Cheney's counsel…. The task force's final recommendations on electricity deregulation resembled much of what Enron officials had advocated in their meeting with Mr. Cheney.” The “stimulus” bill written by former House GOP Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), would have given Texas-based Enron a $254 million tax break. [Newsweek, 2/4/02; Washington Post, 1/26/02; New York Times, 1/9/02; Lobby Disclosure, 2/14/02]
Enron’s Bankruptcy Led To Loss of 20,000 Jobs. Enron’s Wreckage: 20,000 Enron employees lost their jobs and medical insurance. The average severance payment was $4,500. Employees lost $1.2 billion in retirement funds, and retirees lost $2 billion in pension funds. Top Enron executives cashed-in $116 million in stock and shared $55 million in bonuses. Enron’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy resulted from overstating profits by $586 million over five years and understating debt by $2.6 billion. The collapse of Enron resulted in approximately $63 billion in liabilities. [Sources: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room(2007 documentary); ABC News, 5/25/2006; Accountancy Age, 12/6/2001; Bloomberg News, 11/30/2001]
Enron’s “Hired Gun”. Gillespie Himself Lobbied For Repeal Of The Alternative Minimum Tax For Enron. A 2002 report stated, “Former Enron executives disclosed … that a top Bush campaign adviser, Edward Gillespie, served as the company's key conduit to the White House and House leaders. Gillespie's firm received $ 525,000 over nine months last year from Enron for lobbying that included the energy task force and economic stimulus legislation with tax provisions that would have helped Enron… Gillespie ‘was our hired gun,’ recalled one former Enron employee. ‘Whenever we had to get in to see a Republican, the first call was to Gillespie.’ After the Bush victory, Gillespie served briefly as acting director of public affairs at the Commerce Department. He then turned to representing Enron before the administration and Congress on energy policy and repeal of the corporate alternative minimum tax.” [Washington Post, 1/26/02]
2002: As Dick Cheney's Task Force Was Drafting The National Energy Policy, Gillespie Was Secretly Recommending Its Use As a Political Weapon. "Gillespie's simultaneous lobbying and campaign strategizing underscore Enron's influence in Washington before its collapse last year, as well as the way politics and policy often blur under the loophole-filled laws governing their combination." ["Enron Lobbyist Plotted Strategy Against Democrats," The Los Angeles Times, 2/11/2002]
When Gillespie Joined The Bush White House In 2007, The Watchdog Organization Public Citizen Said He Was ‘A Prime Example Of A Revolving Door That has Spun Out of Control.” “Ed Gillespie has long been part of the Bush money machine, helping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from business interests for Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign… He fought on behalf of Enron against efforts to re-regulate the electricity market, which would have ended Enron’s price gouging. He pushed for the energy legislation enacted in 2005, which included some $25 billion in corporate subsidies for oil, gas, nuclear and coal interests. On behalf of financial service clients, he pushed for watering down accounting reforms. On behalf of Chrysler, he fought against improvement of fuel economy standards… By moving from lobbyist to chair of the Republican National Committee, back to lobbyist and then to White House counselor, he is a prime example of a revolving door that has spun out of control.” [Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, 6/13/2007]
Enron Did Not Pay Taxes In Four Of The Five Years Before Its Collapse, According To The Financial Statements It Sent To Shareholders (Including When Gillespie Represented Them). “Enron did not pay taxes in four of the five years before its collapse, according to the financial statements it sent to shareholders. The company has hinted in the past that it may have actually paid some tax during those four years because of the corporate alternative minimum tax.” The company “created 881 offshore subsidiaries, 692 of them in the Cayman Islands, as part of its strategy to avoid taxes,” New York Times reported. The Senate Finance Committee was investigating if Enron was complying with federal tax laws. According to Robert McIntyre, director of Citizens for Tax Justice, a labor-backed tax research group which was examining Enron’s financial reports, “In the year 2000, Enron got a tax refund of $278 million.” Of the five years examined by the group, “only in 1997 did Enron pay taxes, the records showing a payment of $17 million, McIntire said. Altogether, the tax refunds over the five years added up to $381 million, he said. McIntire said the company may have benefited from provisions that weakened the corporate alternative minimum tax after 1997.” [Washington Post, 1/26/02]
Gillespie Helped Enron Beat Back Attempts To Re-Regulate The Electricity Markets In California. Enron paid Quinn & Gillespie $700,000 in 2001 “to lobby on behalf of Enron on issues including the California energy crisis it helped cause” and to “thwart efforts to re-regulate the Western electricity market through price controls. Before its collapse, the company also funneled money to a Gillespie-run group to buy national television ads promoting the president’s industry-friendly energy plan.” The California electricity crisis, or the Western U.S. Energy Crisis of 2000 and 2001, was a manufactured shortage of electricity supply in California caused by market manipulations such as illegal shutdowns of pipelines by companies like Enron. Enron, which was found guilty of energy market manipulation, “exercised tremendous influence over the Bush Administration’s hands-off policy towards the California energy crisis.” Gillespie lobbied the “Executive Office of the President” on the energy crisis. [Citizen.org, June 2003; thinkprogress.org, January 16, 2014; CitizenArchive.org, accessed March 21, 2014]