Until it imploded last October, Enron — long known as End-Run by its critics — was often described as just another aggressive corporation eager to expand its portfolio and open routes into new markets, albeit sometimes with "strong arm" tactics. The implication in most press reports was that, so long as consumers and shareholders came out on top, how it operated was a matter of little public concern.
But Enron was never just another company. It was a major architect and proponent of utility deregulation, with close friends in both the Clinton and two Bush Administrations. Headquartered in Houston, TX, it was also the largest contributor to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, giving at least $550,000 to Bush himself and an estimated $1.8 million to the Republican Party during the 2000 elections. Since then, however, it has also emerged as one of the biggest corporate rip offs in history. Early evidence indicates that its executives hid at least half a billion in debt while enriching themselves through insider trading and financial gimmicks. In the end, they ran the company into the ground. Citgroup, J.P. Morgan and other banking houses were either hoodwinked or accomplices. In either case, they lured in shareholders with empty promises.