FindLaw columnist and federal prosecutor Barton Aronson provides a wide-ranging and thorough explanation of the broader context of the Enron collapse. Aronson surveys successful and unsuccesful regulatory proposals for the accounting industry from recent decades, assesses the actions of the previous and current SEC heads; explains the dangers of allowing accountants to also be consultants, and makes the case for auditors with genuine independence from the firms that are their clients.
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2002
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean contends that the current financial scandal surrounding Enron will ultimately give rise to a companion political scandal, which will put at issue Enron's apparent ability to buy political influence with contributions. Among other points, Dean discusses Congressman Waxman's recent letter to the Bush Administration complaining about the Enron's investigation's narrow, financial focus and citing instances of possible influence-buying by Enron.
Friday, Feb. 15, 2002
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean argues that Vice President Cheney's arguments against the GAO's request for information relating to the Energy Group have no basis in law, and mischaracterize the nature of the request. Dean contends that if the GAO lawsuit reaches the Supreme Court, only a strongly partisan decision could save the Vice President from an adverse ruling.
Friday, Feb. 01, 2002
One of a two-part series of columns, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the Enron scandal -- both chronicling what has happened so far, and noting the main questions that investigations by Congress, the SEC and others will aim to resolve. Dean contends that, contrary to the assessment of some commentators, Enron did indeed buy a significant amount of political influence with its millions of dollars of campaign contributions over the years.
Friday, Jan. 18, 2002
FindLaw columnist and Columbia Law School Vice Dean and professor Michael Dorf discusses the history of executive privilege, which is likely to be asserted by the Bush Administration in the GAO's lawsuit against Vice President Cheney. Dorf explains how executive privilege played a role in Aaron's Burr's trial, during which Chief Justice John Marshall issued a subpoena to President Thomas Jefferson, and in the Nixon tapes case decided by the Supreme Court. Dorf also explains why, ironically, the D.C. Circuit decision that allowed the proceedings of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's health care task to be conducted secretly may also end up helping Cheney succeed in his dispute with the GAO.
Wednesday, Feb. 06, 2002
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Edward Lazarus explains why those who think Congressional hearings will help remedy the Enron scandal and bring those responsible to justice may be dead wrong. Lazarus describes how hearings, with their temptation of early, broad immunity grants to get witnesses to talk, can actually interfere with later prosecutions -- or even result in the more culpable players getting off scot free.
Tuesday, Feb. 05, 2002
In Part Two of a two-part series on possible claims arising from the Enron debacle, FindLaw columnist and Brooklyn law professor Anthony Sebok discusses the possibility of shareholders' suing Enron's accountants or lawyers under Texas tort law. Sebok contends that shareholders will have an uphill battle in the Texas courts, for a number of reasons, and analyzes two important Texas Supreme Court decisions that will set the legal framework for their claims.
Monday, Mar. 04, 2002
In Part One of a two-part series, FindLaw columnist and Brooklyn law professor Anthony Sebok takes on some of the legal ramifications of the Enron scandal. Sebok answers a number of fundamental questions, including these: Can the shareholders who lost money bring tort claims against Enron, even though they had no physical injuries? What about securities fraud claims, or claims of breach of fiduciary duty against Enron's board of directors? Does it make a difference that Enron is bankrupt, and if so, how?
Monday, Feb. 25, 2002