Monday, December 8, 2003

Bought And Paid For: Mike Oxley, The Congressman Who Let Enron Happen

The Blade digs into the record of the Ohio congressman who has worked to de-regulate corporate America and made a shitload of money doing it:

[A]n investigation by The Blade shows that Mr. Oxley has spent years protecting American corporations from government regulators. Along the way he has become one of the GOP’s biggest fund-raisers and the top recipient of campaign cash from the accounting industry.

The investigation found:

Over his 22 years in Congress, Mr. Oxley has risen from a foot soldier to a general in the battle to beat back Depression-era investor safeguards to keep executives, financiers, and auditors honest. The push to deregulate, critics say, helped pave the way for the collapse of Enron and other corporate giants and the greatest financial losses since the 1930s.

After investors lost $11 billion in the Enron collapse, Mr. Oxley continued to argue against more serious reform, refusing to consider a bill that would have implemented the accounting restrictions Mr. Levitt wanted two years earlier. As more accounting scandals surfaced and pressure mounted, Mr. Oxley did an about-face and accepted many of the ideas from the bill he had opposed – ideas he now takes credit for – and included them in the final legislation that bears his name.

As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee that oversees Wall Street, banking, and insurance, Congressman Oxley has become one of the most powerful and influential members of Congress, with the ability to stop legislation he and his backers don’t like – and push bills that they do.

This article is the first in a three-day series by The Blade. I’ll post the links for the follow-ups each day.

Let’s see, they impeached Clinton for getting a blowjob from his girlfriend. Can you expel a Congressman for getting one from corporations?