Ashcroft bows out of Enron investigation

By Sylvie Dale
Online Editor

Jan. 10, 2002 — Attorney General John Ashcroft has removed himself from investigations surrounding Enron after it was learned he accepted campaign contributions from the company while he was running for Senate, reported Thursday.
The Justice Department said Ashcroft had not been involved in any part of investigating Enron.
Former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay and Enron itself contributed $25,000 to a political action committee supporting Ashcroft’s reelection to the Senate in 2000.
President Bush promised Thursday in an Oval Office address that there would be a full federal investigation into the company’s bankruptcy.

Documents destroyed
In other news, Enron’s accounting firm Andersen said at least some of the documents the Justice Department is seeking have been destroyed, Reuters News Service reported.
The accounting firm made the statement after the Justice Department said it planned to issue subpoenas to Enron, Andersen and 49 individuals involved in the failed energy company.
Andersen said its employees discarded or deleted a number of documents related to its handling of Enron’s audit.
The accounting company, which also served as a consultant to Enron, said it had notified the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice that “individuals” had gotten rid of an undetermined number of documents relating to the energy company’s bankruptcy, Reuters said.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said 51 subpoenas will go out Friday. The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is among five congressional panels investigating the energy giant which finally sought bankruptcy protection in December.
Also probing the company are the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor.

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