WASHINGTON (AP) - In only a few e-mails, Enron employees laid bare the reality of politics: the money trail from companies seeking favors from lawmakers with the power to grant them.
The e-mails circulated among Enron officials in 2000 and 2001, before the collapse of the Houston energy company, are under review by the House ethics committee, which is considering whether to investigate the fund-raising activities of the No. 2 leader in the House, Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas.
Enron officials map out in the e-mail how to get the most for their financial contributions, while politicians compete for credit in securing large campaign donations from the company.
The e-mails "really do pull the curtain back and give you a view of how it's done," said Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political contributions and spending.
Attention has refocused on the e-mails since a Texas Democrat filed an ethics complaint last month against DeLay. Rep. Chris Bell accused the majority leader of soliciting and accepting political contributions from a Kansas energy company, Westar Energy Inc., in return for legislative favors.
DeLay's office denies there was any quid pro quo. DeLay contends Bell filed the complaint because Bell is bitter over losing his primary race in March.
What DeLay and other politicians cannot deny is that the Enron e-mails illustrate the nature of political fund raising.
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