Don Young’s History Fairbanks vs. Don Young

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Don Young supported the deregulatory measures that enabled the California energy crisis and the Enron meltdown

Don Young supported the haphazard deregulatory measures that Enron was vigorously promoting in the 1990’s. These deregulatory measures contributed to the notorious Enron accounting fraud, bankruptcy, and collapse, along with an artificial electrical power “crisis” in California. This resulted in:

a)      20,000 lost jobs for Enron employees, tens of billions of dollars in lost employee pensions, and a $60 billion loss for investors who were misled about Enron’s financial condition. Retirement funds across the US suffered severe ripple effects.

b)      Enron energy traders found clever methods to create an artificial energy "crisis" in California with severe rolling blackouts. California paid about $50 billion for an amount of electricity that cost about $7 billion two years earlier. During this "crisis", Enron CEO Ken Lay told the Chair of the California Power Authority, "In the final analysis, it doesn't matter what you crazy people in California do, because I got smart guys who can always figure out how to make money."

After Enron spotlighted the chaotic and tragic results from a decade of deregulatory zeal, Young began to address these problems by voting to modernize rules and re-regulate public utilities. Time will tell whether Congress has precluded future sequels to the Enron meltdown and California’s artificial energy “crisis”.

Recommended Viewing: See a movie about the end results of Enron’s lobbying efforts, which were wholeheartedly endorsed by Don Young - “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”. The documentary is based on a book by Fortune Magazine reporters, rated 3.5 stars by Roger Ebert, and is available at Blockbuster. According to Ebert, “This is not a political documentary. It is a crime story. No matter what your politics, "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" will make you mad.”

Bill

Don Young’s Action:

Effect

Date

Status

H.R. 776

Voted Yes Roll Call 144

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 deregulated electricity markets, resulting in a flawed market structure which contributed to the collapse of Enron and the California power crisis.

5/27/92

Passed into Law

H.R. 1058

Voted Yes, Roll Calls 216 and 839

Private Securities Litigation Reform Act - Eliminated safeguards against fraud and weakened protections for investors. Created legal obstacles that allowed Enron to hide questionable accounting practices.

3/8/95 and 12/6/95

Passed into Law

S. 1260

Voted Yes, Roll Call 528

Encouraged Enron to issue fraudulent financial reports by reducing the threat of being held accountable through class action lawsuits

10/13/98

Passed

H.R. 4541

Voted Yes, Roll Call 540

Original “Enron loophole” bill. Exempted commercial energy futures, allowing Enron to corner the power market in California with minimal regulatory oversight.

10/19/00

Added as a rider to H.R. 4577

H.R. 4577

Voted Yes, Roll Call 603

Commodity Futures Modernization Act. H.R. 5660 was nicknamed the Enron loophole, since it deregulated and exempted energy-derivatives-trading. Added as a rider to H.R. 4577.

12/15/00

Passed into Law, see PL 106-554

 

After the Enron debacle unfolded, Young began to correct some the underlying problems, voting to re-regulate and modernize the laws governing public utilities.

Bill

Don Young’s Action:

Effect

Date

Status

H.R. 6

Voted Yes, Roll Calls 145 and 630

Energy Bill partially repealed the Public Utility Holding Company Act. Had this law been enforced, the Enron debacle could have been mitigated. Later repealed under Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005, under more comprehensive/alternate regulations.

4/11/03 and 11/18/03

Passed into Law

H.R. 3762

Voted Yes, Roll Call 92

Regulate pensions,

4/11/02

Passed House, died in Senate

H.R. 3763

Voted Yes, Roll Call 110

Sarbanes Oxley Act, regulates auditors, assures auditor independence, holds management accountable for auditors’ misrepresentations

4/24/02

Passed into Law

H.R. 6

Voted Yes, Roll Calls 132 and 445

Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005, allows regulators access to public utility financial records, assuring transparency.

4/21/05 and 7/28/05

Passed into Law

 

Enron’s contributions to Don Young’s reelection campaigns

were not particularly excessive nor eye-opening:

 

Date

Amount

Donor

Donor Address

4/9/2001

$1,000

Enron Corp. Political Action Committee, Inc.

Houston, Texas

9/24/1992

300

Enron Corp. Political Action Committee, Inc.

Houston, Texas

2/14/1989

300

Enron Corp. Political Action Committee, Inc.

Houston, Texas

2/15/1988

300

Enron Corp. Political Action Committee, Inc.

Houston, Texas

3/13/1986

300

Enron Corp. Political Action Committee, Inc.

Houston, Texas

 

 

 

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