Accused spy Wen Ho Lee may have gotten an apology from the FBI and big bucks from his new book, but that hasn’t saved him from Larry Klayman, chairman of Judicial Watch, who represents Notra Trulock, the Department of Energy whistleblower who raised questions about security at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and is now suing Lee. After deposing Lee and his wife, Klayman posted the transcripts on his website. He’s even managed to depose former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.
In addition, Klayman has filed four lawsuits against the Bush administration, seeking information on contacts between the Bushies and Enron officials. He has also filed a brief supporting the General Ac-counting Office’s suit against Dick Cheney, issued press releases de-manding Ari Fleischer’s resignation for refusing to answer questions about Enron, and raised questions over allegations that Karl Rove urged Enron to hire former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed as a consultant. And we thought that when Bill Clinton left office . . .
Interior Secretary Gale Norton is complaining that the slow pace at which Congress is confirming her appointees is hindering her ability to run the agency. Given who has already been appointed, that might not be a bad thing. Norton created a special “associate deputy secretary” post, third in command, specifically for James E. Cason, to spare him the indignities of a Senate confirmation. That’s because George H.W. Bush had to withdraw Cason’s nomination as assistant secretary of agriculture for natural resources, due to the reputation he earned as an anti-environmentalist during Ronald Reagan’s administration. Under former Interior Secretary James Watt, Cason gave millions of taxpayer dollars to the mining industry in a sweetheart land deal; authorized a rule making national parks and wildlife areas vulnerable to strip mining; and claimed that the spotted owl would go on the endangered species list “over my dead body.” Joining Cason are a number of folks from the “Wise Use Movement,” a group of industry types and private landowners pushing for laws that would require the government to reimburse landowners for the impact of environmental regulation. Bennett Raley, assistant secretary of water and science, served with Norton on the board of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, an anti-environmental nonprofit and the litigation arm of the Wise Use Movement. Raley lobbied against the 1994 Clean Water Act reauthorization, opposed the Endangered Species Act on behalf of a business coalition, and is now in charge of ensuring the management and conservation of the nation’s water supply. William Meyers III, solicitor of the department, previously served as the executive director of the Public Lands Council, an arm of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which supports the right of cattle ranchers to freeload off the federal government by grazing on public lands without paying market rates for it. Patricia “Lynn” Scarlett, assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget, is a regulatory manager who doesn’t believe in even modest regulation. Scarlett is on record as opposing the most innocuous initiatives, including curbside recycling and the government requirement for putting nutritional labels on food. Let’s not forget J. Steven Griles, second in command under Norton and another Watt protege. During the Reagan administration, Griles supported drilling for oil off the California coast, opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration, and cutting the cost to coal companies for operating on federal land.
Just how routine was Enron’s practice of giving money to politicians? So much so that former CEO Jeff Skilling donated $208 to Enron’s political action committee every two weeks, a sign, say campaign finance experts, that the money was automatically deducted from his paycheck—on top of the thousands of dollars he donated to George W. Bush, Tom DeLay (R-Texas), Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.), and others. Same for Sanford Weill, CEO of Citigroup, an Enron creditor, who, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, makes biweekly contributions of $208 to Citigroup’s PAC.