Controlling Hypocritical Authority: Gore’s Expertise

Former Vice President Al Gore published an opinion piece in this Sunday's New York Times, “The Selling of an Energy Policy,” about which the record will show he is an expert. In this piece, Gore keened over the Bush administration purportedly cramming misguided policies down citizens' throats largely at the behest of greedy energy companies. Gore's presumption, and seemingly that of establishment media, is that Enron, among others, influenced Bush-administration energy and environment policies, and that this is a bad thing. Remember that.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

That same day a Times headline coincidentally trumpeted, “Many made the move from industry to the Administration,” for the purpose of crafting pro-energy policies reversing Clinton-Gore's aggressive eight-year anti-energy campaign.

Leave aside for now how Gore's inserting anti-energy agitators into senior-policy positions escaped condemnation, as did the obvious impact requiring Bush's intervention. For now, let us merely expose Gore's audacious moral grandstanding.

This week the free-market think-tank Competitive Enterprise Institute — a group (for which I work) strongly opposed to those energy-suppression policies that became Gore's trademark — sought specific documentation under the Freedom of Information Act. These documents, when released, will demonstrate Enron's troubling relationship with the Clinton-Gore administration from top to bottom.

Most egregious but by no means alone among Enron's influential coups was their guidance of U.S. participation in and terms of an international treaty capping energy-use emissions — principally carbon dioxide (CO2) — on the basis of purportedly man-made global warming.

This “Kyoto Protocol” if implemented would sound the death knell for Enron's chief competition, coal, dramatically increase the value of Enron's huge gas pipeline network, and create an artificial market in CO2 for their traders. Per one internal Enron memo bragging on Kyoto as “precisely what [Enron has] been lobbying for”: “This agreement will be good for Enron stock!!”

Relying on internal Enron memos, CEI specifically requested documents from various Cabinet-level agencies relating to the following Enron lobbying efforts and Clinton administration's cooperation:

<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml” />• An August 4, 1997 meeting in the Oval Office between a few high rolling CEOs such as Enron's Ken Lay, and President Clinton and Vice President Gore, addressing possible Clinton administration's positions at the upcoming (December 1997) treaty negotiations in Kyoto, Japan.

• A July 1997 meeting for select, invited industry participants (e.g., Enron) hosted by the White House, including Clinton and Gore, regarding that administration's case for policy action on the theory of man-made climate change.

• A 1997-98 outreach campaign by the Clinton administration, employing Cabinet officials to recruit further “responsible” industry, detailing the fortunes to be made from instituting the theory of man-made climate change as government policy.

• President Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development, an exclusive panel to which he named Enron CEO Ken Lay in the first months of his presidency.

• A February 20, 1998 meeting between Ken Lay and Energy Secretary Federico Pena, staffed by Dan Adamson (Special Assistant to Deputy Secretary Betsy Moler), and L.G. Holstein (Pena Chief of Staff). This meeting addressed Enron's lobbying/policy desires regarding the Clinton administration's approach to restructuring the electricity system, specifically legislative positions and strategies and whether to include “climate change” policies in any such effort.

• Ken Lay's February 20, 1998 correspondence to President Clinton “to ask for [Clinton's] personal involvement in passing [electricity] legislation…”, written at the request of Energy Secretary Pena during their closed-door meeting earlier that same day.

• The “Clean Power Group,” including Enron, El Paso, Calpine, NiSource, PG&E National Energy Group, and Trigen Energy, whose internal documents reflect they coordinated with Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Air Task Force, Sierra Club, and the following industry trade groups among others: Interstate Natural Gas Association, Gas Turbine Association, Solar Energy Industry Association, American Wind Energy Association, American Gas Association, Business Council for Sustainable Energy. This coalition sought policies in effect implementing the Kyoto Protocol's energy-use limitations without first obtaining Senate ratification.

• Private administration meetings with the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Enron was the marquee member of this group's Business Environmental Leadership Council, and they worked together on certain of Enron's lobbying goals.

• Private meetings between Enron employees John Palmisano and/or Mark Schroeder, and senior government officials Dirk Forrester (DOE), Dan Reifsnyder (State Department), Howard Gruenspecht (DOE), T. J. Glauthier (OMB), Rafe Pomerance (State Department), David Doniger (EPA), David Gardiner (EPA), Rob Walcott (EPA), William White (EPA), Nancy Kete (EPA), Joe Kruger (EPA), Jane Leggett-Emil (EPA), and Lisa Carter (EPA). This request particularly seeks information regarding specific discussions that occurred during the first two weeks of October 1997, as the Clinton administration finalized its Kyoto position.

When the Bush administration releases these documents, then Mr. Gore can engage the public in an informed debate on Enron's influence.