Enron's contributions bought its bosses time to take...


February 07, 2002

Enron's contributions bought its bosses time to take money, run

Steve Chapman's column " `Soft money' overrated" (Opinion

Commentary, Jan. 28) demonstrates that he is either ideologically blinded or a poor political analyst.

He suggests that the Bush administration would have been tarred for rescuing Enron Corp., just as it's being tarred for not doing so now, in a "damned if you do ... " scenario. However, the administration isn't being faulted for not rescuing Enron, but for not investigating it as soon as it became aware of the problem.

Mr. Chapman also argues that campaign contributions were ineffective because none of the company's purchased politicians is stepping forth to defend it now. On the contrary, by not investigating months ago, the administration allowed Enron's executives to cash in their stock at high prices and disingenuously assure employees that all was well.

Obviously, politicians aren't willing to be tainted by a highly public scandal once it breaks, regardless of who paid what to whom. What's key is the actions they take before things become public. And Enron's contributions helped make its executives quite wealthy, by buying them enough time to take the money and run.

Political influence in America is an incredible bargain: Just a few hundred thousand dollars (corporate chump change) will do the trick.

Let's keep our eye on the ball and keep pushing for reform.

Alan Zuckerman

White Hall

People have right to know what Enron said to Cheney

President Bush's and Vice President Dick Cheney's stonewalling of the General Accounting Office and the American people is a sham, and it reeks of corruption.

The American people have a right to know what influence the executives at Enron Corp. had on the president's energy policy. The American people have the right to know what the company's large contributions to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign bought Enron.

Mr. Cheney allegedly had six secret meetings with Enron executives concerning our energy policy.

There is a lot riding on the president's energy policy, and the American people have a right to know what was discussed at those meetings and whose interest the president's energy policy is supposed to serve - Enron's or the American people's.

Edward G. Shlikas

Bel Air

Both parties should donate Enron's gifts to workers

I have a suggestion for the Democrats and Republicans alike who were recipients of campaign contributions from Enron Corp.: Give all the money back - and let it be divided among the Enron employees who lost their shirts.

While this may not be the perfect solution, it's a start.

Gail Householder


Close the door on efforts by governor to be chancellor

The Sun's editorial "A once and future candidate?" (Jan. 31) did not go far enough to close the loopholes in Gov. Parris N. Glendening's efforts to secure his next job.

An unequivocal message to the higher education community that Maryland will not allow Mr. Glendening to sneak through the back door to the chancellorship [of the University System of Maryland] is overdue. And perhaps it is time to clean the regents' house and remove anyone appointed by Mr. Glendening.

Mr. Glendening came into the office tainted by his actions to secure himself and his buddies a cushy deal on his way out the door as county executive of Prince George's County. Let's not allow him to leave Annapolis in the same fashion.

Debbie Jones


Where's the proof that limits on guns would make us safer?

The writer of the letter "Limits on gun purchases will make our streets safer" (Feb. 3) states, "Making it harder for criminals to get guns is one of the best ways to reduce gun-related deaths and injuries."

Where is the proof? Washington is much more restrictive of firearms than Montpelier, Vt., but in which of those cities would you rather be left alone in a strange neighborhood at night?

Karen Titus


Terrorist's life story evokes no sympathy

It is naive to believe Wafa Idris became a Palestinian militant terrorist because of her days spent on the front lines of the intifada ("She volunteered as a medic, became Palestinian bomber," Jan. 31).

The Palestinian Authority, with Yasser Arafat at its helm, has never fostered a Palestinian psyche that favors peace. Even during the Oslo peace process, Palestinian textbooks spewed anti-Israel rhetoric, camps for young children encouraged and glorified martyrdom and maps in Palestinian schools never acknowledged Israel's existence.

Please do not try to humanize a terrorist's motivations. I don't care if she had "red hair that flowed over her shoulders ... and volunteered as a medic." Ms. Idris should be accorded the same "sympathy" as Mohamed Atta.

Elaine Gerstenfeld


Mulched seedlings promised to improve city's environment

As treasurer of the Herring Run Watershed Association, I commend The Sun for the front-page article that related to Baltimore's much-overlooked environmental plight ("With unkind cuts, trees turn to mulch," Jan. 23).

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