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Enron Traders Caught On Tape

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Want to be sickened? Click and listen to their shameful mean spirited talk.


Enron Traders Caught On Tape

LOS ANGELES, June 1, 2004

When a forest fire shut down a major transmission line into California, cutting power supplies and raising prices, Enron energy traders celebrated, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports.

"Burn, baby, burn. That's a beautiful thing," a trader sang about the massive fire.

Four years after California's disastrous experiment with energy deregulation, Enron energy traders can be heard - on audiotapes obtained by CBS News - gloating and praising each other as they helped bring on, and cash-in on, the Western power crisis.

"He just f---s California," says one Enron employee. "He steals money from California to the tune of about a million."

"Will you rephrase that?" asks a second employee.

"OK, he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day," replies the first.

The tapes, from Enron's West Coast trading desk, also confirm what CBS reported years ago: that in secret deals with power producers, traders deliberately drove up prices by ordering power plants shut down.

"If you took down the steamer, how long would it take to get it back up?" an Enron worker is heard saying.

"Oh, it's not something you want to just be turning on and off every hour. Let's put it that way," another says.

"Well, why don't you just go ahead and shut her down."

Officials with the Snohomish Public Utility District near Seattle received the tapes from the Justice Department.

"This is the evidence we've all been waiting for. This proves they manipulated the market," said Eric Christensen, a spokesman for the utility.

That utility, like many others, is trying to get its money back from Enron.

"They're f------g taking all the money back from you guys?" complains an Enron employee on the tapes. "All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?"

"Yeah, grandma Millie, man"

"Yeah, now she wants her f------g money back for all the power you've charged right up, jammed right up her a------ for f------g $250 a megawatt hour."

And the tapes appear to link top Enron officials Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling to schemes that fueled the crisis.

"Government Affairs has to prove how valuable it is to Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling," says one trader.


"Do you know when you started over-scheduling load and making buckets of money on that?

Before the 2000 election, Enron employees pondered the possibilities of a Bush win.

"It'd be great. I'd love to see Ken Lay Secretary of Energy," says one Enron worker.

That didn't happen, but they were sure President Bush would fight any limits on sky-high energy prices.

"When this election comes Bush will f------g whack this s--t, man. He won't play this price-cap b------t."

Crude, but true.

"We will not take any action that makes California's problems worse and that's why I oppose price caps," said Mr. Bush on May 29, 2001.

Both the Justice Department and Enron tried to prevent the release of these tapes. Enron's lawyers argued they merely prove "that people at Enron sometimes talked like Barnacle Bill the Sailor."

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Enron Tapes Anger Lawmakers

LOS ANGELES, June 2, 2004

During California's rolling blackouts, when streets were lit only by head lights and families were trapped in elevators, Enron Energy traders laughed, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales.

One trader is heard on tapes obtained by CBS News saying, "Just cut 'em off. They're so f----d. They should just bring back f-----g horses and carriages, f-----g lamps, f-----g kerosene lamps."

And when describing his reaction when a business owner complained about high energy prices, another trader is heard on tape saying, "I just looked at him. I said, 'Move.' (laughter) The guy was like horrified. I go, 'Look, don't take it the wrong way. Move. It isn't getting fixed anytime soon."

California's attempt to deregulate energy markets became a disaster for consumers when companies like Enron manipulated the West Cost power market and even shut down plants so they could drive up prices.

There was quick reaction in Washington to the Enron audiotapes first aired by CBS News last night, and the tapes have become part of the debate over the President's massive energy bill.

"People were talking about market manipulation. People were talking about schemes, people were making jokes," said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

"While the president would like to have an energy bill, I'd like to have an energy bill that protects consumers," said Cantwell.

Consumers like Grandma Millie, mentioned in one exchange recorded between two Enron employees.

Employee 1: "All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?

Employee 2: "Yeah, Grandma Millie man.

Employee 1: "Yeah, now she wants her f-----g money back for all the power you've charged right up, jammed right up her a--for f-----g $250 a megawatt hour."

It's clear from the tapes that Enron employees knew what they were doing was wrong, and now lawmakers are responding.

"I will offer an amendment to compel the Bush administration t oget off the dime and get back this money that has been stolen," said Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.

Another taped exchange between different employees regarding a possible newspaper interview goes like this:

Employee 3: "This guy from the Wall Street Journal calls me up a little bit ago..."

Employee 4: "I wouldn't do it, because first of all you'd have to tell 'em a lot of lies because if you told the truth..."

Employee 3: "I'd get in trouble."

Employee 4: "You'd get in trouble."

Eventually, the lies unraveled and traders scrambled.

"I'm just -- f--k -- I'm just trying to be an honest camper so I only go to jail once," says one employee.

Two Enron traders, from the office where the tapes were made, have admitted manipulating energy prices and pled guilty in court. Another goes on trial in October. Former Enron chief Ken Lay is the only top company official who has never been charged with any crime.

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Cheney to Head Energy Meetings

UB Staff

Online Exclusive, Jan 30 2001

President George W. Bush announced that Vice President Dick Cheney will head a committee to examine the energy situation in the United States. Members of the president's Cabinet also will participate.

The president formed the committee after being approached by governors of some of the western states who were concerned that the California electricity crisis was spreading to their states.

President Bush says that he wants to prevent the situation from spreading further. However, the president also says that the California situation would be remedied best by California, which he says was on its way to a solution.



Energy Task Force Data Not Private

Agencies Ordered to Release Papers

By Carol D. Leonnig

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, April 2, 2004; Page A23

A federal judge yesterday ordered several federal government agencies to release documents concerning their work on Vice President Cheney's energy task force or provide a legal reason for withholding them. ...



Cheney Defends Refusal to Detail Energy Meetings

FPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=*" Politics: Congress' investigative arm is prepared to go to court over the issue. Vice president says the White House has handled the Enron collapse properly.

WASHINGTON-Faced with growing legal and political challenges, Vice President Dick Cheney stepped forward Sunday to vigorously defend the administration's handling of the collapse of Enron Corp.--and his own refusal to release details of his meetings with Enron and other industry executives in formulating the Bush administration's energy policy.

Cheney's defiance puts the administration on course for a legal clash with Congress' investigative arm, the nonpartisan General Accounting Office. The head of the GAO said last week that he would sue the administration unless, by the end of this week, the agency is on track to find out whom Cheney consulted before drafting the energy policy last spring.

"In the absence of that, the courts will have to decide," Comptroller General David Walker said Sunday in an interview.

Cheney dug in for the legal battle even as some fellow Republicans have argued that he should release the information to counter the potentially damaging impression that the administration has something to hide.

But releasing the information would set a precedent that would make it impossible for him to receive "unvarnished advice" without fear of disclosure by Congress, Cheney said.

"What's really at stake here is the ability of the president and the vice president to solicit advice from anybody they want in confidence," Cheney said on "Fox News Sunday."

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grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr filthy pigs. MY "grandma Millie ' (her real name) was NOT amused on her fixed income, to have to pay the rates they hiked up. OH lord don't get me started. I am so mad I can't see straight.

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I just wrote the Governor, my State Senator and Assemblyperson, and US Senators and Representative.

California AND other states need to get the lawsuit won and give the people their money back. Those guys on the tape ar RICH!

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I heard this on NPR this morning. Really makes you want to throw up, doesn't it?

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We heard the tapes on the news last night. What a bunch of sorry excuses for garbage, those two were! Making the big bucks though, and free as birds.

I may not always get along with my mom, but she spent her life working hard taking care of people, including people just like those scam artists. She didn't deserve it.... And none of the other grandmothers (and in Mom's case, great-grandmothers) deserved that fleecing.

Meantime, I sure am glad they've got that dangerous criminal Martha Stewart taken care of, aren't you??? :angryfire

I'd sure like it to come to light who the thieves were in California who were in on this. Should be some kind of paper trail, one would think.

Too bad they can't make the sentences for those losers commensurate with the amount of damage they did to people. They'd NEVER get out!

I'm not a violent person, but I would rather like to b***h slap each of them, just haul off and knock them silly.

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Anyone know if it is legal to put a lein or something on these theifs money and property and return it to the rate payers?


January 16, 2002

(SAN FRANCISCO) - Attorney General Bill Lockyer today asked the San Francisco Superior Court to hold Enron Corp. in contempt of court for failing to turn over documents sought in the state's investigation of power pricing practices related to the energy crisis in California.



Attorney General Lockyer Announces $281.5 Million Settlement with Dynegy in Energy Refund Case

Lockyer Will Continue to Pursue Lawsuits Against Firm and Probe Its Misconduct

April 26, 2004



Attorney General's Energy Investigation Nets First Settlement

OLYMPIA - Attorney General Christine Gregoire announced today that the Williams Companies, Inc. and the Williams Energy Marketing and Trading Company will pay $15 million to resolve state claims that it participated in market manipulations and overcharges that caused electricity rates to skyrocket for Washington consumers over the winter of 2000-2001.

Williams Energy is the first of several energy companies under investigation by the Attorneys General of Washington, Oregon and California to reach a settlement with those states. Williams has also agreed to cooperate with the state's ongoing investigations into energy price manipulations, including sharing records that could link other companies to violations of state or federal law.

The largest energy supplier under investigation, Houston-based Enron, has filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court. The Attorney General's Office has filed a claim on ratepayers' behalf with the bankruptcy court. But it is unclear how much if any money will be available to compensate those ratepayers.

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