Money, Power And Influence

Enron people carry boxes out of Houston HQ Nov. 28

The Enron story is a typical saga of money, power and influence in Washington.

On Capitol Hill, 71 Senators, Republican and Democratic, have received a total of more than $500,000 from the energy giant.

In the House, 188 members have shared more than $600,000.

What's more, Senators Joe Lieberman and Ernest Hollings, who chair two committees looking into the Enron collapse, have both received money from the corporation.

"This is a somewhat unusual situation where there are very few people untainted by Enron money right now," said Larry Noble of the Center for Responsive Politics.

CBS News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts reports that the lion's share of the campaign cash has gone to Republicans, specifically George W. Bush. Since 1993, Enron and its employees funneled two-and-a-quarter million dollars into Mr. Bush's political career and party coffers.

Click here to learn more about
the fall of energy giant Enron.

But Enron also played the other side of the political fence. Prior to President Bush's campaign, Enron chairman Ken Lay contributed heavily to Bill Clinton's election, played golf with the former President, even received White House support for overseas Enron projects.

"Bottom line for them is they want to have influence in Washington, they want to have access in Washington and they will give the contributions to get that access and get that influence," said Noble.

Even as Enron was spiraling into bankruptcy in late November, it made two $100,000 contributions to Senate Republican and Democratic committees. Republicans sent the money back and the Democrats donated it to charity.

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