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JULY 30, 2002
5:04 PM
CONTACT:  Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Interviews Available on Corporate Wrongdoing:
* The New Law * FCC Role * Enron's Global Damage
WASHINGTON - July 30 -

    Cray is director of the Campaign for Corporate Reform for the group Citizen Works.

    Rasmussen, who works with the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy, wrote the article "Rethinking the Corporation." She said today: "The legislation signed by Mr. Bush today is a quickly-devised effort to send a message that the people are 'winning,' when, in fact, nothing of the sort has happened.... A law establishing oversight and imposing a few penalties we are told will set things right and get corporations in line, but will in fact leave the giant corporations and their complicit governments to proceed with business as usual. Such speedy acting is intended to divert us from the fundamental question of who governs in this country.... We need to be rewriting corporate law in all 50 states and engaging in the struggle to build democratic institutions that put the people in charge."

    Co-author of "Enron's Pawns: How Public Institutions Bankrolled Enron's Globalization Game," Wysham is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and the director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network. She said today: "Long before Enron's tricks came to light in the U.S., the company was infamous for even more egregious practices in the developing world.... Our research has uncovered that 21 agencies representing the U.S. government, multilateral development banks, and other national governments helped leverage Enron's global reach with $7.2 billion in public financing approved for 38 projects in 29 countries. Enron's overseas operations rewarded shareholders temporarily, but often punished the people and governments of foreign countries with price hikes and blackouts worse than what California suffered in 2001, causing social unrest and riots that were sometimes brutally repressed. Meanwhile, the U.S. government and other public agencies continued to advocate on Enron's behalf, threatening poor countries -- for example Mozambique was threatened with an end to aid if it did not accept Enron's bid on a natural gas field. Only when Enron's scandals began to affect Americans did these officials and institutions hold the corporation at arm's length."

    Michael Powell, chairman of the FCC, testified before the Senate on Tuesday. Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy and co-author of the recent article "A 12-Step Program for Media Democracy." Chester said today: "The FCC's recently released five-year plan does not even mention the 'public interest' -- something that should be central to its role."


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