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By Roger Fredinburg

February 1, 2002 


It seems that America's energy giant (Enron) managed to drop considerable amounts of cash in the laps of virtually anyone influential in and around the beltway. Over the past decade their affluence touched the lives and wallets of every power broker in the known world.

From President Clinton to then Governor Bush. Up and down the halls of congress regardless of party,  out into the activist arena where even Jesse Jackson managed to escape with some loose Enron change.

Some of us are bound to ask what Enron got in return for their investment.  While they are clearly in bed with everyone, where all parties seem willing to kiss and tell, the fact remains that Enron is belly up, bankrupt, gone the way of the dinosaur. Is there a lesson here for other corporate leaders who continue paying the required ransom for access in American politics today? To coin a phrase 'Where's The Beef?'

Accounting giant Arthur Andersen is now on the hot seat as are the leaders at Enron. They are both wading in government contracts which might reveal answers to the questions about what they got in return for their investment later. But the real question is who among the many can rightfully be charged with the duty of investigating either Enron or Andersen while the unmistakable odor of Enron cash permeates the beltway, lingering about like anthrax in the Hart office building.

Enron's demise is a tragedy and many innocent bystanders will suffer greatly for the mismanagement and misleading if not diabolical tactics employed to continue the fraud and rip off the shareholders, employees and the American taxpayer. Clearly the law was shredded, the checks and balances of regulation failed and the stench will likely spread beyond Enron as more companies are exposed for using similar tactics.

It does get worse, much worse when you recognize that these shenanigans are nothing new to our federal government agencies. After all, where do you think all of these creative accounting methods were developed?

In recent months we have seen numerous examples of poor accounting practices and criminal like behavior on the part of our own government.

Documents and lap top computers go missing from the State Department. Security breaches at our most secret labs and agency branches. Thousands of personal computers, lap tops, guns and other weapons by the hundreds are missing every year. Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are lost in the ether.

Recent attempts to audit the Internal Revenue Service were foiled because the accounting practices there are so abysmal that the worlds leading accountants threw up their hands and walked out, 'Mission Impossible' was the going explanation, although they were able to determine that tens of billions of hard earned taxpayer dollars had simply disappeared, year after year, without any explanation. Nobody was held accountable by the all seeing, ever present watchdog we call congress. No hearings, no arrests, no discovery, nothing but silence.

Similarly, when a group of Congressmen unexpectedly walked into the Department of Education and demanded to look at the books, there was found to be tens if not hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars unaccounted for. Billions upon billions of dollars just disappeared. Does anyone remember how many Department Of Education employees were investigated, how many were arrested, questioned by proper authorities?  The answer is zero. Not one person was held accountable for all the missing money. And rather than be held accountable the Clinton administration gave tens of millions of dollars in bonuses to agency managers throughout the system and none of those bonuses were tied to performance. To make matters worse, The new Bush administration is handing over to the thieves at the Department of Education an additional 26 billion of our hard earned dollars to plug into their faulty accounting system.

The contrast between how the Congress responds to the creative accounting at Enron and their lack of attention to the unique, and some would say criminal, accounting practices used by the agencies of government they oversee is stifling. They posture themselves as competent and trustworthy to properly inquire as to Enron's possible wrongdoing, regardless of the fact that they were essentially on Enron's payroll. We're to trust that they have no conflict of interest because they tell us they're loyalty is to their constituents and the taxpayers. Yet, they stand idly by while the bureaucrats rip us off by the hundreds of billions and do absolutely nothing to stop them.

Not to excuse Enron and Andersen for their follies, but it does seem a bit like the 'pot calling the kettle black'.

One set of executives are being threatened with prison and the loss of everything they've worked for all their lives. That very threat is being levied against them by another group of public executives who's accounting and management practices make the boys and girls at Enron look like saintly stewards of other peoples money.

Obviously the culprits at Enron, and Andersen, should face the music and pay the price for breaking the law. Moreover there should be some form of restitution if at all plausible for their victims. I'm confident that the courts will ultimately remedy this as much as possible.

But what do we do about that other set of criminals out there who aren't facing charges but should be? Will they be allowed to continue raping, robbing, maiming and mugging the taxpayers without being held to the same standard as the crooks at Enron?    I wonder.......


2002 - Roger Fredinburg - All Rights Reserved



Roger Fredinburg is a syndicated radio host heard in more than 140 markets nationwide and worldwide on the internet at or  The show airs from 7PM till 10PM Pacific and 10PM till 1:00 AM Eastern M-F and Sunday nights from 9:00 PM till Midnight PST Midnight till 3:00 AM Eastern. The call-in number to his show is 1-800-510-8255 or E-mail