California Governor Accepted Enron Donations, Met With Lay : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Published 2:40 a.m. PST Saturday, Feb. 2, 2002

SACRAMENTO (AP) - Gov. Gray Davis during a television interview Friday acknowledged meeting with then-Enron CEO Kenneth Lay last year during the state's energy crisis, but said that he ignored his advice.

During a broadcast of the PBS show "Now With Bill Moyers," Davis said he met with Lay over several months at the request of the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Davis' comments came as Enron struggles to reorganize under bankruptcy protection. Davis earlier this week demanded the federal government investigate Enron's influence on the California energy crisis.

The broadcast targeted Enron's influence on the Bush administration's energy policy. In a previous interview for a Frontline/New York Times show, Lay said he also had made contact with the Clinton administration and with Davis.

Davis political critics and Republican challengers for the governor's seat have blasted him for his handling of California's energy crisis.

Davis said he had hoped Lay would be "an honest broker" who could help solve the energy problems by acting as a liaison between the state, other independent power generators and the Bush administration. "I have no apologies for talking to Ken Lay," Davis said. "Every government official in the Clinton and Bush administrations said, 'Have you talked to Ken Lay?' I did learn a good deal talking to Ken Lay. I learned his view was quite different than mine. I did ask him for advice on a number of things, and he generally gave me advice that I did not take. In fact, I can't remember any advice I took."

Davis said Lay urged him to require electricity customers to pay the record wholesale prices being charged in late 2000 and last year.

Lay also urged the governor to allow private companies to assume control of the state's power grid and to further deregulate the electric system, Davis said.

"He comes across as having no ax to grind," Davis said. "He had a huge ax to grind in seeing that energy deregulation was not changed in any way."

But Davis' political rivals did not accept his explanation.

Secretary of State Bill Jones reiterated his demand that Davis return Enron campaign donations. Since 1996, Davis has received $119,500 from Enron, including $42,500 since becoming governor. Davis has said he will not return any money, but adds he no longer accepts campaign contributions from energy brokers or generators.

-- Cherri's Alter Ego (, February 02, 2002

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