OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS - “Friends of Enron”

(01/23/2002)

By Tony Russell

“Hello, Senator Gramm? This is Mavis Beanfield calling. I have good news for you, sir!”

“I’m surely in need of some good news, ma’am. How can I help you?”

“Oh, I’m not looking for help, Senator. In fact, I’m calling to thank you for help you’ve already given, you and your lovely wife.”

“What kind of help was that, Ms. …Brownfield, was it?”

“Beanfield, Senator. I’m with the Friends of Enron Foundation, and we’re just so pleased with all the help you and Mrs. Gramm have given us over the years. We’re having our Annual Awards Dinner next month, and I’m pleased to report that you and your wife were co-winners of this year’s “Friends of Enron Award,” for your long history of outstanding assistance to the corporation.”

“Uhm, look Ms. Beanpole, ….”

“Beanfield, Senator. We already have the plaques prepared. Let me read the inscription to you; I know you’ll be thrilled! ‘To Senator Phil Gramm and Wendy Gramm, For Their Dedicated Efforts On Behalf Of Enron. Senator Gramm provided leadership in exempting Enron’s energy derivatives business from regulation under the act governing commodities trading, thus bringing the corporation a windfall of over $250,000,000. Not to be outdone, Mrs. Gramm, during her term as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, allowed for an exemption in the trading of energy derivatives. After resigning from the Commission, she assumed a seat on Enron’s Board of Directors.”

“That’s very flattering, Ms. Brownfield ….”

“Just call me Mavis, Senator. Please.”

“…but I’m afraid my schedule is full on that date.”

“But I haven’t mentioned a date yet, Senator!”

“Yes, well, whatever. Listen, I just can’t accept the award when there are others so much more deserving. Dick Cheney, for instance. Jim Baker. Karl Rove. Larry Lindsey. Heck, even the President himself. Those guys have all carried the water for you folks.”

[Embarrassed pause] “I didn’t want to have to get into this, Senator, but we’ve already approached all of the people you mentioned. We thought they were all deserving as well. But can you imagine this, their schedules were all full too. I just don’t understand it; we never had this problem in previous years. [Gives a little laugh] Heck, last year people were almost fighting to get the award!”


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