May 29, 2006

George W. Bush and Ken "Kenny Boy" Lay:
In the 1980s, when Mr. Bush was working in the Texas oil industry, his firm invested in a drilling partnership with Mr. Lay's company, a predecessor to Enron. In 1992, Mr. Lay was co-chairman of the Republican National Convention in Houston that renominated President George H.W. Bush.

Later, Mr. Lay was a major fund-raiser for George W. Bush's political career. He delivered more than $300,000 for his two gubernatorial campaigns, according to Texans for Public Justice. In 1997, Mr. Bush wrote to Mr. Lay: "Dear Ken, One of the sad things about old friends is that they seem to be getting older -- just like you! 55 years old. Wow. ... Laura and I value our friendship with you. ... Your younger friend, George W. Bush."

In the 2000 presidential race, Mr. Lay remained a steadfast ally. Mr. Lay was a Bush "Pioneer" who raised at least $100,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Enron also made its jet available and contributed to inaugural festivities.

Mr. Lay later wrote to the new president and the first lady that he was "so proud of you and look forward to seeing both of you in the White House." But Mr. Lay also found influence in the administration.

Vice President Dick Cheney invited Mr. Lay to take part in his secret energy task force meetings. Mr. Cheney also talked to the Indian government about a debt it owed Enron for the rebuilding of a power plant. Numerous administration officials held Enron stock. Lawrence B. Lindsey, Mr. Bush's chief economic adviser at the time, had sat on Enron's board, receiving $50,000.


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