George W. Bush and Kenneth Lay
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report
Monday 29 May 2006
The Bush administration knew Enron was on a collision course two months before the high-flying energy company collapsed in a wave of accounting scandals that wiped out $60 billion in shareholder value and left thousands of company employees penniless.
It was August 15, 2001, when Enron lobbyist Pat Shortridge met with then-White House Economic Adviser Robert McNally, one day after Jeff Skilling made a stunning announcement that he was stepping down as president of Enron.
Shortridge confided in McNally that Enron was headed for a financial meltdown – one that could very well cripple the country’s energy markets – and urged the White House economic adviser to alert President Bush about the company’s financial problems so he could help put together a federal bailout, according to thousands of pages of documents about the meeting released by the government’s Enron Task Force.
It certainly made sense for Enron to seek help from the White House. In August of 2001, Ken Lay was still known as “Kenny Boy” to President Bush, a nickname Bush bestowed upon him when the two men were up and comers in the Texas energy and political industries respectively.