Reed, Rove, Enron, payola - Fox News (apologies accepted here)

Oh My! - Fox News

Is this faux news? Yeah, I thought not. Feel free to cleanse yourself of the guilt you feel for claiming Fox to be an arm of the RNC here.

Since it is being dismissed I’m sure nothing untoward happend.:dubious: Of course, the Ds have their own payola problems, in a system built on piles of soft money, frequent switches between the public and private sector, and questionable salaries. I’m sure Ralph did a lot of consulting.

Enron hired a number of prestigeous individuals as “consultants,” at hefty fees. Another one was New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, a big Bush basher. Krugman received tens of thousands of dollars. Krugman, like Reed, was less than forthcoming about the deal.

Enron’s disgusting influence-buying was was a bi-partisan.

More bullshit from you, december. Krugman has mentioned his brief connection to Enron in every single column of his that I’ve read which has touched upon the company’s problems.

But here’s Krugman’s own comments about it. I offer this for anyone considering taking december’s comments without a pound or two of salt.


Backing up part of december’s comment, I recall “Time” publishing a list of the 10 people that had received the most from Enron, and that 6 or 7 were Democrats (mostly Texans).

I said Krugman was less than forthcoming, and he was. You’ve presented Krugman’s defence. Naturally he excuses his own actions.

When Krugman was first engaged by Enron, he did mention it briefly in one column. But, he did not address the full details of his engagement until Andrew Sullivan made a big deal of it. My cite above from the liberal Salon magazine says

xenophon41, I request an apology for your false accusation of “bullshit.”

Uh, nope; 't wasn’t a false accusation. You should probably apologize to Beagle for the hijack. Even your cite remarks that Krugman informed his readers of his connection to Enron in the very first opinion piece he wrote about the company after that connection was established. In fact, the last paragraph you quoted admits that Krugman was more forthcoming than any other pundit with Enron connections. By the way; it was less than $35,000 that Krugman got from Enron for months of consultancy; and we’re talking about a guy who commands $20K for a one-hour speaking engagement. Hardly in the same league as the more than $300,000 paid to Reed. Your attempt to paint the Reed transactions as typical (while sliding in an implied slur of a generally anti-Bush columnist) is transparent.

And december makes exactly the type of argument that is criticised in the Salon article that he quotes - he focuses on Krugman while essentially ignoring all the conservative political and economic commentators who took Enron money. As the very first paragraph of the Salon article says:

Substitute december for Sullivan, and the question remains.

In Sullivan’s case, Salon called it “selective prosecution.” In december’s, maybe “selective posting” would be appropriate.

Good Heavens, mhendo, my first sentence was

The idea that not giving a figure is somehow being duplicituous is utterly ridiculous. You’re only demonstrating your desperation by harping on it. The fact is, Krugman disclosed his connection when it was appropriate: countless other people did not… and yet all Sullivan could talk about was Krugman and his 50,000 (actually 35,000) fee: an amount of money that most consultants on Wall Street wipe their asses with. When Krugman disclosed his connection again and again when needed, are you implying that he somehow misled people into thinking that he had worked for them pro bono?

I didn’t say it was “duplicitous.” I said it was, “less than forthcoming.” A forthcoming disclosure would have included the dollar figure, because it was large enough to be a significant aspect. The liberal Salon thinks Krugman intentionally withheld the actual figure for that very reason.

Note that Ralph Reed did the same thing, although he got a lot more money, as xenophon41 pointed out. OTOH I would point out that Krugman may be able to command $20,000 for a speech today, now that he’s aNew York Times columnist. But, I doubt he could have gotten that sort of fee in 1999, before the Times took him on. In any event, the point isn’t what $50,000 (or $35,000) meant to Krugman. The point is what it would have meant to* his readers*, if he had told them about it. Salon thinks the readers would have found it significant.

BTW the reason Krugman received only $35,000 is that he became a columnist for the Times. Their rules didn’t permit the “consulting” arrangement to continue. Otherwise, he would have gotten more money and he might have been on the Enron spigot right up to the end, like the others.

—The liberal Salon thinks Krugman intentionally withheld the actual figure for that very reason.—

You can’t go around making arguments by trying to use “liberal” as evidence for correctness. “They would normally be biased the other way, so they can’t be incorrect here” is just not a good arguement.
The fact is, the complaint is simply silly to anyone who knows the amount of money companies regularly throw around on consulting power, especially for an economist of Krugman’s stature when it comes to trade policy.

As the Salon article states, singling him out is exactly what it appears to be: a hijack in the service of misdirection. It’s a counter-claim instead of a defense.

Once again, december has managed to engage in enough misdirection to steer a thread away from something that makes him uncomfortable. The OP was about Reed. He’s managed to get all of you discussing Krugman, instead. This is one of december’s favorite tactics, and we fall for it every time.

I also think december should apologize. The comparison is ridiculous.

  1. Krugman has no ties to any politician. No one tried to buy his influence using Enron’s payroll, as is being suggested by the gasp FoxNews article.

  2. Krugman has been much more forthcoming than Reed and Rove, as evidenced by the Salon article (december’s own cite). To suggest otherwise is a partisan slur.

  3. Krugman was not a journalist for The Times when he received monies from Enron. As soon as he was hired, he cut all ties with Enron.

Unfortunately, the war has made many forget about the Enron debacle. Rove will most likely not be forced to take account of his actions.

december, what you said was bullshit. I suggest you retract your statement and apologize – you’re better than this.

First of all, what I said was the exact truth, and I provided a cite confirming it. What I was doing was putting the Ralph Reed donation in a context.

However, I did fail to spell out sufficiently the point I was trying to make. It was an extention of what Leander said above. Krugman and other “consultants” had no ties to any politician. The fact that Enron was buying friends right and left makes it somewhat less likely that Ralph Reed was laundering money for the Bush Administration.

Enron gave substantial money to Krugman and other influential opinion leaders. That was Enron’s normal (and disgusting) practice. Knowing that these donations were Enron SOP makes it more likely that the money they gave to Ralph Reed was really for Ralph Reed.

Is it possible that influence peddling rises above partisan distinctions? In other words, both parties have one hand out and one on the government till, right? Payoffs are bipartisan.

I think the system permits too many legal bribes. For example: one day you are White House (Communications Director, Press Secretary, CoS, cabinet officer, whatever). You can transit smoothly into a job with, say, CNN (or Enron, Boeing, Global Crossing, again whatever). Is it a conflict of interest that you were recently in control of media access to the POTUS, and now are taking a big salary from one of the media outlets you gave access to? Or, another common example, is it improper that you are now working for who you regulated or contracted with for the government? Or, that you took big payments for little work - basically selling so-called “access.”

Well, yes, of course. But, no, it happens all the time. Of course, people have to work, and freedom of contract, and blah blah. But, this is often thinly-veiled influence peddling.

Yes, you did. I’m not calling you a liar, or alleging that you said Krugman was the only one. I just thought that it was interesting that, like Sullivan, you saw fit to mention all the others in a group (“prestigious consultants”), and pick on the only liberal by name, emphasising Krugman’s being “less than forthcoming.”

This is small stuff, i agree. But matters of emphasis can be important in issues like this, IMO.

“A forthcoming disclosure would have included the dollar figure, because it was large enough to be a significant aspect”
Actually it wasn’t very significant by the standards that Krugman, a very high profile economist ,was used to making as a consultant.

The point about disclosing the actual figure is bogus. Can you give any examples of columnists who have disclosed the dollar amounts of their consulting deals? And Krugman wasn’t even a full-time columnist at that time. By disclosing his connection with Enron upfront Krugman was a lot more honest than right-wing pundits like Kristol,Noonan and Kudlow who didn’t say anything before the story broke out.

Yes, influence peddling is certainly bipartisan. In fact, i read some figures recently that suggested that, in many election races last year, Democrats raised more corporate cash than their Republican opponents (sorry, no cite, but i’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to find; maybe later).

It’s worth remembering, too, that influence doesn’t just move from Washington to the private sector, but the other way as well. A good example is current FCC Chairman Michael Powell. This is the man in charge of determining what constitutes the “public interest” in American media policy.

First, he is the son of the current Secretary of State.

Second, he was initially plucked for a role as an FCC Commissioner in 1997 by Senator John McCain who, despite a reputation as a campaign finance reformer, had, according to FAIR, “the distinction of being the senator who has received the most money from the media industry” in the eight years 1993-2001. The Center for Public Integrity lists McCain’s corporate donors, among which are: US West; AT&T; Bell South; Viacom; SBC Communications; Motorola; and Bell Atlantic (now Verizon). In helping Powell, who was only four years out of law school at the time, get his initial position in the FCC, “McCain single-handedly nixed a second term for the highly regarded Rachelle Chong.”

Third, Powell was a lawyer at the high-powered Washington firm of O’Melveny and Myers, where, according to his official FCC biography, “he focused on litigation and regulatory matters involving telecommunications, antitrust and employment law.” What the FCC bio fails to mention, but that we can find out elsewhere, is that O’Melveny and Myers spends much of its time serving the interests of the corporate media, representing some of the biggest telecommunications and media companies around, including Disney, Sony Pictures, and GTE.

So Powell, a lawyer representing big media, and assisted by the senator most in debt to big media, is now in charge of the Federal Communications Commission.

This sort of thing happens further down the line, too, with hundreds of people that we never even hear about in the news. They move from roles as industry lobbyists into government positions designed to oversee those very industries. In the FCC, one of Powell’s commissioner’s, Kathleen Abernathy, was previously a telecommunications industry lobbyist. Eric Schlosser’s excellent book Fast Food Nation details some of the meat industry lobbyists who have moved into positions with OSHA and the FDA. The list of foxes guarding the henhouse goes on and on.

And the fact that such influence-peddling is carried out by both elephants and donkeys does not make me any happier about it. If it were just one party or the other, at least we would have someone to turn to in an attempt to curtail it.

Actually it was high, given that he was not yet a Times columnist and given that he was required to do very little work for it.

If you’re correct that these three columnists didn’t divulge the arrangement, and if they wrote about Enron without divulging the arrangement, then they behaved unethically IMHO.

“Actually it was high, given that he was not yet a Times columnist and given that he was required to do very little work for it.”
Krugman was a very high-profile economist before he became a Times columnist. He was a leading theorist of currency crises which made him even more prominent at the time of the Asian crisis.

So 50,000 for several days of work is not at all high for someone like that. Some people get paid that much for a single speech.

As for the detalis of who divulged what check out the Salon article you quoted for the facts. Krugman was the only one who disclosed the connection before the story broke out.