Another Enron Oops?

The collapsed energy trading company Enron Corp reportedly spent nearly $2.5 million lobbying the Bush administration in the first half of 2001, not $825,000 as it said in an earlier filing to Congress.

That's according to USA Today, which cites an amended lobbying report Enron filed with Congress earlier this month.

The newspaper says the firm spent at least $2.46 million on efforts to influence the White House, Treasury and Commerce departments and other agencies early in the term of President Bush, a top beneficiary of Enron campaign contributions.

The company initially reported spending $825,000 on Washington lobbying from January through June 2001. USA Today said Enron filed an amendment after a January analysis by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog group, raised questions about the accuracy of the initial report.

The newspaper said the Enron amendment was not signed by anyone at the company but was filed with a letter from the firm's lawyer, Kenneth Gross. Gross was cited as saying that the remaining Enron employees found it difficult to compile definitive lobbying data after the firm's December filing for bankruptcy protection and mass layoffs.

"Unfortunately, virtually all the Enron employees who worked in the Washington, D.C., office are no longer with the company," Gross wrote.

Ten congressional committees, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department are investigating Enron's collapse, which destroyed thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investor equity. An internal inquiry ordered by Enron's board alleged senior managers used off-the-books partnerships to hide losses, fool investors and enrich themselves.

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