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Ken Lay-George W. Bush Contacts Date Back To 1994
by Reed Irvine
NewsMax.com appearing on Rense.com
2-8-02

DALLAS (UPI) - Former Enron chief executive Kenneth Lay's contacts with President George W. Bush date back to 1994 before he became governor of Texas, The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday.

Lay wrote Bush shortly after he defeated Democrat Gov. Ann Richards in 1994, urging him to name Pat Wood to the Texas Public Utility Commission, according to a letter obtained by the newspaper. Last month, Bush told reporters he "got to know" Lay after being elected governor and described him as a Richards supporter.

Wood, who Lay called qualified to carry out the "new thinking" needed on the commission, was appointed by Bush three weeks after taking office. Lay was a top campaign contributor to Bush. After Bush was elected president, Lay urged him to name Wood to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The president appointed him to that post in August.

White House spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo said the appointees suggested by Lay were qualified for the posts and received support from other people.

"These were very qualified individuals who had a lot of support," she said. "They were chosen based on their qualifications and their experience."

In the 1994 letter to Bush, Lay opened with the greeting, "Dear George," and described Wood as "best qualified to provide" what he termed "new thinking" on the utility commission. Wood is an advocate of market-oriented regulation supported by Enron, the News said.

As governor, Bush pushed for deregulation and he won praise from Lay for his efforts.

Lay also lobbied Bush about Texas laws limiting lawsuits against businesses, calling the state's tort system "the laughing stock of the country." He said it could force some large business to leave Texas. As governor, Bush successfully won legislation that limited lawsuits against businesses.

Since 1994, Lay has recommended other appointments to Bush and his successor, Republican Gov. Rick Perry, but the recommendations have not always been followed. Both Bush and Perry have received campaign contributions from Enron executives.

Enron filed for Chapter 11 protection Dec. 2 in the nation's largest bankruptcy. About 4,500 workers lost their jobs and their savings, and several investigations are being conducted by state and federal agencies.

Copyright 2002 United Press International. All rights reserved.

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