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“Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy”: As Internal Memos Reveal That Enron Drove Up Power Prices in California , We Ll Talk to Author Richard Grossman

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    Internal Enron documents released yesterday show the Enron Corporation manipulated the California electricity market.

    One of the smoking-gun memos was written by Enron lawyers in December 2000 and describes how company traders used fraudulent practices to drive up power prices throughout the state. These practices include creating phantom congestion on electricity transmission lines and conducting phony sales among Enron’s affiliates. Enron code-named these practices “Death Star,” “Fat Boy,” “Ricochet,” “Get Shorty,” “Load Shift.”

    Describing “Death Star,” the lawyers wrote: “The net effect of these transactions is that Enron gets paid for moving energy to relieve congestion without actually moving any energy or relieving any congestion.”

    Lawyers for the company now admit that such techniques “may have contributed” to the California energy crisis. They also helped drain Californians of tens of billions of dollars.

    Senator Diane Feinstein announced last night that she will ask Attorney General John Ashcroft to pursue a criminal investigation into the matter.

    Meanwhile, opening arguments are set to begin in the Arthur Anderson criminal trial.

    Well, we turn now to an interview I conducted recently with Richard Grossman, who is one of the contributors to a new book, ??Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy and co-director of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy. He believes that it is not only the corporations, but the politicians themselves who must be held responsible.

    Guest:

    • Richard Grossman, co-director of the Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy (POCLAD). His writings appear throughout the new book, ??Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy (Apex press).

    Music:

    • Rock The Nation–Michael Franti & Spearhead Stay Human (Six Degrees CD) www.stayhuman.org.

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