SECTION SEVENTEEN
EMAIL PAGE TEN

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COLUMN SEVENTY-TWO, JUNE 1, 2002
(Copyright 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)

FROM PORTSIDE
Portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a
news, discussion and debate service of the Committees
of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It
says it aims to provide varied material of interest to people
on the Left. Heretofore , we were  under the impression that Portside  is the Internet's voice of the Left.  But it turns out to be the Internet's voice of the fundamentalist Far-Left, which, like all fundamentalist organizations, adheres to an orthodoxy and consequently refuses to post dissident or differing opinions from within the Left---such as HATE YOUR GOVERNMENT BUT LOVE YOUR COUNTRY, available to be read in SECTION ONE of COLUMN SEVENTY.  Fundamentalists, like fascists, will not tolerate any disagreements or variations from the fundamentalist orthodoxy.

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WOULD ENRON'S SHREDDED DOCUMENTS HAVE REVEALED TIES TO GEORGE W. BUSH?

Subject: Bush and Enron were oil partners
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 22:56:09 -0800 (PST)
From: portsideMod <portsidemod@yahoo.com>
To: portside@yahoogroups.com

W.'s First Enron Connection: Bush and Company Were Oil Partners

by David Corn 03/04/2002 @ 1:57pm

[from EmailNation:

Did George W. Bush once have a financial relationship with Enron? In 1986, according to publicly available records, the two drilled for oil together--at a time when Bush was a not-too-successful oil man in Texas and his oil venture was in dire need of help. Bush's business association with Enron, it seems, has not previously been reported.

As David Corn notes in the latest installment of Capital Games, this is one more Enron partnership that deserves scrutiny--especially since George W. Bush has yet to acknowledge it.]

Read the full story below:

========================

W.'s First Enron Connection: Bush and Company Were Oil Partners

by David Corn 03/04/2002 @ 1:57pm

http://www.thenation.com/capitalgames

Did George W. Bush once have a financial relationship with Enron? In 1986, according to publicly available records, the two drilled for oil together--at a time when Bush was a not-too-successful oil man in Texas and his oil venture was in dire need of help. Bush's business association with Enron, it seems, has not previously been reported.

In 1986, Spectrum 7, a privately owned oil company chaired by Bush faced serious trouble. Two years earlier, Bush had merged his failing Bush Exploration Company (previously known as Arbusto--the Spanish word for shrub) with the profitable Spectrum 7, and he was named chief executive and director of the company. Bush was paid $75,000 a year and handed 1.1 million shares, according to "First Son," Bill Minutaglio's biography of Bush. Under this deal, Bush ended up owning about 15 percent of Spectrum 7. By the end of 1985, Spectrum's fortunes had reversed. With oil prices falling, the company was losing money and on the verge of collapse. To save the firm, Bush began negotiations to sell Spectrum 7 to Harken Energy, a large Dallas-based energy firm owned mostly by billionaire George Soros, Saudi businessman Abdullah Taha Baksh and the Harvard Management Corporation.

The deal took months to work out. In September of 1986, Spectrum 7 and Harken announced they had reached an agreement. Spectrum 7 shareholders, under the plan, would receive Harken stock. Bush said that Spectrum 7 would continue to operate in Midland, Texas, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harken and that he would become an active member of Harken's board of directors. As Minutaglio noted, the deal would give Bush about $600,000 in Harken shares and $50,000 to $120,000 a year in consultant's fees. It also would provide $2.25 million in Harken stock for a company with a net value close to $1.8 million.

As the details of the Spectrum-Harken acquisition-- which Bush badly needed--were being finalized, Enron Oil and Gas Company, a subsidiary of Enron Corporation, announced on October 16, 1986, that it had completed a well producing both oil and natural gas in Martin County, Texas. An Enron Oil and Gas press release reported the well was producing 24,000 cubic feet of natural gas and 411 barrels of oil per day in the Belspec Fusselman Field, 15 miles northeast of Midland. Enron held 52 percent interest in the well. According to the company's announcement, 10 percent belonged to Spectrum 7. At that point, Spectrum 7 was still Bush's company. Harken's completion of the Spectrum 7 acquisition was announced in early November.

To spell it out: George W. Bush and Enron Oil and Gas were in business together in 1986--when Ken Lay was head of Enron. (Lay was named Enron chairman in February of that year.) How did this deal come about? Was this the only project in which Bush and Enron were partners? A call placed to the White House has produced no response yet. Karen Denne, an Enron spokeswoman, says "I can't tell you anything about" that project, explaining Enron "sold all its domestic exploration and production assets about two years ago to EOG Resources" and probably did not retain records regarding that well. As for the possibility Spectrum 7 invested in other Enron ventures, she notes, "You're referencing something that happened in 1986. I can check, but we're pretty short-staffed now." Elizabeth Ivers, a spokeswoman for EOG Resources (formerly Enron Oil and Gas), says, "If we did have any records on that well, it would be nothing that we would share with the public. We do not disclose the details or specifics of who we have well interests with."

After the Enron affair began generating front-page headlines, Bush attempted to distance himself from Enron and Lay. In early January, the President claimed he and Lay had not always been close pals. "He was a supporter of [Texas Governor] Ann Richards in my run [against her] in 1994," Bush asserted, noting he did not get "to know Ken" and work with him until after he won that election. But campaign records show Lay donated three times as much money to Bush in that race as he did to Richards. Moreover, contacts between Lay and the Bush family pre-dated that campaign. In 1992, Lay chaired the host committee for the 1992

Republican convention in Houston, where Bush's father won his second presidential nomination. And Lay was a sleepover guest at the White House of President George H.W. Bush.

The Enron-George W. Bush connection goes back further than the President has suggested. But does that mean the relationship between the younger Bush and Lay stretches to the mid-1980s? The deal could have happened without contact between Lay and Bush. But most company heads would be interested to know that the son of the sitting vice-president had invested in one of their enterprises.

If Lay had been aware of the partnership, that would not prove the two were pals or that Bush and Spectrum 7 had received undue consideration from Enron. But given Enron's penchant to use political ties to win and protect business opportunities, it is tough not to wonder if this Bush- Enron venture involved special arrangements. This is certainly one more Enron partnership that deserves scrutiny--especially since George W. Bush has yet to acknowledge it. The Spectrum-Enron deal is either an odd historical coincidence or an indication there's more to learn about the Bush-Enron association.

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