Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fastow and Ebbers go to jail

A sense of closure today, and it's not necessarily the sound of clanging jail cell doors that produces it.

Jeff Andy Fastow, the former Enron CFO got six years (instead of ten) for cooperating with the prosecutors and was placed immediately into custody; Bernie Ebbers, the one-time basketball coach and WorldCom executive reported to the medium-security facility in Oakdale, LA -- we just drove past there over the weekend -- to serve a twenty-five year term, likely the rest of his life.

These were two of the highest-profile white collar criminals of the Nineties. Few rose as high and fell so far as Fastow and Ebbers. They were hailed as wizards for their business acumen, but it was eventually revealed that they were just plain old charlatans.

Next month Jeff Skilling, Fastow's capo, will be sentenced to prison, and probably for a very long time also. And with that, a most sordid chapter in the history of American corporate malfeasance will draw to a close.

Who will be this decade's Fastow, Skilling, or Ebbers? We might not yet know their names, but unfortunately some of them are probably doing business in Texas. The biggest crooks always seem to.

Could one of them be Bob Perry, of "Swift Boat" fame, who has funneled hundreds of thousands to Republicans throughout the state? Or perhaps James "Voucher" Leininger, who has done the same in order to advance his single issue, dismantling public education in Texas? Both men have made fortunes in business and poured those fortunes into the bank accounts of Republican politicians and conservative causes. Is it possible we could see their corrupt dealings land them in jail if we succeed in voting their GOP lackeys out of office in November?

The chickens always come home in the evening to roost, and dusk is coming a little sooner now that it's fall. Maybe we can hasten it along some if we do what we need to for the next 45 or so days.

No comments: