For Immediate Release: January 14, 2001|
Enrongate Web site: http://democrats.com/enron
Democrats.com Launches Enrongate Web Site and Internet Advertising Campaign for Special Prosecutor
Democrats.com, which was the first group to call for a Special Prosecutor for the Enron investigation last Friday, today announced the launch of a special Enrongate Web site and an Internet advertising campaign to build public support for a Special Prosecutor.
"After the White House denied any involvement in the massive Enron bankruptcy, Americans learned this weekend that Enron's top executives did, in fact, discuss its financial crisis with top officials of the Bush administration, including the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Commerce," said Democrats.com co-founder Bob Fertik.
"In the past few days, Americans have also learned that serious crimes may have been committed by Enron executives and their auditors, including preparing fraudulent financial statements and destroying important financial records that were under subpoena," said co-founder David Lytel.
"President Bush has tried to create the impression that he had few contacts with Enron's chairman, Ken Lay. Indeed, President Bush misrepresented his own relationship with Mr. Lay last week, claiming that they only became friends after his 1994 election as Governor of Texas, and that Mr. Lay did not support him in that race. Both of these claims are contradicted by all available evidence, including public records and statements by Mr. Lay. Mr. Bush's deliberately misleading statements call into doubt the credibility of all of his statements about Enron, including his categorical denial of any involvement in Enron's business since becoming President," said Fertik.
"President Bush and Ken Lay are old political allies, dating back as far as 1978, when Mr. Lay contributed to Mr. Bush's first Congressional campaign. President Bush and Mr. Lay have had a business relationship dating back as far as 1988, when Mr. Bush called Argentina's Minister Of Public Works to lobby for Enron's oil pipeline bid," said Fertik
"During the course of his political career, Mr. Bush has received more money from Mr. Lay and Enron - $574,550 - than from any other political supporter. And in return for that support, Mr. Bush has used his political influence for Mr. Lay's benefit on numerous occasions. These include calling former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge in 1997, urging the Texas Congressional delegation to support overseas risk insurance in 1997, deregulating Texas' energy markets in 1999, and refusing to impose wholesale price caps during California's electricity crisis in 2001. Mr. Bush's efforts to reward Mr. Lay continue to this very day, with his diligent efforts for repeal of the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax, which would deposit $250 million directly into Enron's coffers," said Fertik.
In light of these new revelations, Democrats.com has stepped up its efforts for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's involvement in Enron's collapse. These efforts include:
- posting an Internet petition for a Special Prosecutor, which has garnered over 2,700 signatures in three days.
- creating an in-depth Enrongate Web site at http://democrats.com/enron
- launching an Internet advertising campaign to drive traffic to the Enrongate web site. The animated banner ad uses tongue-in-cheek humor to highlight Mr. Bush's relationship to Ken Lay.
"Enron gave $574,550 to George W. Bush
Bush says, 'I did not have business relations with that man, Kenneth Lay!'
Sound familiar? America needs a Special Prosecutor!"
The ad will be viewed by 1 million Internet users on 7,000 web sites in the coming days. Democrats.com has also appealed to its supporters to donate additional funds to reach millions of additional Internet users.
Democrats.com has also increased its media outreach efforts. On Friday, Bob Fertik appeared on the BBC's premier news show, Newsnight.
"The Enrongate scandal is just beginning. Before it is over, top officials in the Bush administration - including President Bush and Vice President Cheney - will have to answer serious questions about their involvement with Enron's business. It will be impossible for President Bush's political appointees in the Justice Department to conduct a thorough and objective investigation of these questions. Once again, we call upon Mr. Bush to do the inevitable and appoint a Special Prosecutor for Enrongate," concluded Lytel.