A BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
The Powers Commission Enron Line Dance
February 14, 2002
Senator Hollings Grills the Dean of the University of Texas Law School About An Interview of Ken Lay
3:32 p.m. CST, February 13, 2002
While watching the C-SPAN coverage of the Hollings Committee hearings on Tuesday, February 12th at around noon, I happened to witness an exchange between Mr. William Powers, the Chairman of the Powers Commission, and Senator Ernest Hollings, that I found both amazing and highly informative.
The Powers Commission, you may know, is a three-member panel headed by Mr. William Powers, Dean of the University of Texas Law School and current member of the Enron Board. Powers was selected by the Enron Board to lead an investigation of Enron "related-party transactions" and especially the partnerships created and managed by Andrew S. Fastow, Enron's former CFO and other Enron employees who worked with Fastow.
Here's the amazing exchange, verbatim:
Hollings: ...Let me ask you. You said that on January the 16th that some twelve of you met with Mr. Kenneth Lay to take his testimony as to what went on. Isn't that correct?
Powers: Yes, I was at that interview.
Hollings: And we lawyers ah... we always have a stenographer present to take down that; what he had to say. Do you have that for the Committee?
Powers: We did not use a stenographer. We made a memorandum... ah... based on that. I think it's a 17-page, single-spaced memorandum. And I think we've been working with the staff to provide those... ah... ah... results of all of our interviews to the Committee.
Hollings: Well wait a minute there! You say you didn't take it, so all of you were making different notes from time to time as he testified, were you not?
Powers: Well... somebody took notes.
Hollings: Can you furnish those notes?
Powers: Well... we... we turned those notes as a draft into... ah... ah... into the Memorandum.
Hollings: I understand that.
Powers: ...And we did not keep the notes.
Hollings: So we... Good gosh! You shredded the notes?
Powers: No there's nothing Senator... there's nothing in the... that is not in the Report and this is the standard... ah... accepted way that's been worked by many investigators over a long period of time to do internal investigations. It's to use the procedure that we used.
Hollings: The standard procedure is not to take down the testimony of the gentleman that you're investigating and otherwise, while you took some notes... uh... to destroy the notes. That's your testimony?
Powers: We used those to prepare a very detailed, within 24 hours, in all but a few cases, very careful, accurate, complete description of what went on in... in... in... those interviews and I do think that's standard practice in investigations of this sort.
Hollings: Well thank you Mr. Chairman
At that moment, C-SPAN cut away from that hearing to cover the regular House session.
This whole exchange is simply amazing to me, having sat through a deposition with a court reporter who took down every word and put it into a lengthy written transcript.
This cover-up obviously extends to the Powers Report, too. It must be a lot worse than even they reported.
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Contributed by BuzzFlash Reader, GR
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