WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 27, 2001 – Several days before filing for bankruptcy protection, Enron Corp. donated $100,000 to Democrats, but Enron says the donations are unrelated to congressional investigations.
In addition to the corporate donations, federal reports show Enron chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay gave $250,000 to the Republican Party during President Bush’s campaign, the Associated Press said.
Enron Attorney Robert Bennett said the money was pledged to a fund for Senate Democratic candidates months before the collapse of the energy giant, the report said.
Nearly all of Enron’s prior donations for the year went to the Republicans. Bennett said the donation to the Democrats was merely following the shift in power from a Republican to a Democratic Senate.
Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Dec. 2.
The Democratic Senate fund-raising committee wants to use the money for charitable donations or to help laid-off Enron workers, AP said.
Many Enron stockholders say they were not kept apprised of the company’s failing condition, and thousands of employees and former employees are involved in litigation to reclaim some of the value from their Enron-heavy retirement accounts, which were hit hard by the loss of value in the company’s stock.
Democrats for the Senate Commerce Committee last week asked the Federal Trade Commission to find out why company executives were allowed to sell back their stock while other employees where not allowed to do so.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Enron for possible criminal conduct, and the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission are conducting civil investigations.