local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 last week
 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info

 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs



Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8065 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


Mountain Jobs

Formula Sports

Idaho Conservation League



Gary Carr...The Carr Man!

Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

For the week of July 10 - 16, 2002

Opinion Columns

Political ‘outrage’: bipartisan hypocrisy

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

President Bush’s new-found umbrage about hank-panky in corporate America’s executive suites is the moral equivalent of Bill Clinton indignantly condemning older men for philandering with young government interns.

Bush, after all, profited handsomely as director (and member of the audit committee) of an energy company by quickly cashing in $848,000 in stock in a firm that a few days later announced it was in the hole. (Yep, Arthur Andersen was the outside auditor.) Bush also waited another 34 months before filing necessary SEC papers about insider trades.

His vice president and presumptive Oval Office mentor, Dick Cheney, was CEO of Halliburton, whose funny-money accounting methods claimed non-existent profits and is now under investigation. (Alas, Arthur Andersen was Halliburton’s auditor, too.)

Then there’s Bush’s Secretary of the Army Thomas White, a former executive of Enron, where fraudulent bookkeeping began the tumble of companies dealing in fishy accounting methods. Apparently wanting to avoid further embarrassment to the president, White’s original, boastful 116-word entry about his Enron years has been re-written on his Army Internet site to a single 17-word sentence without hyperbole.

And Bush’s pick as Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, Harvey Pitt, who promised a "kinder and gentler" SEC and once proposed eliminating 57 positions as part of a less aggressive enforcer, led the accounting lobby in blocking a rule to divorce auditing from consulting businesses.

But if Bush seems late to the game and hypocritical, Democrats and Republicans sitting on committees investigating corporate corruption come to the job with their own unclean hands and hypocrisy.

CNN estimates that 70 percent of them have accepted campaign funds from the very accounting firms and corporations now being probed for criminal conduct.

And if one wonders why the president is recreating himself as a populist tough-cop crusader for corporate ethics, the crisis of confidence in U.S. corporations is a major political issue that touches the pockets of most voter households: Wall Street estimates that investors and worker pension funds have lost $6 trillion in the past two years, while CEOs and others have walked away with multi-million dollar profits before their companies tanked.

Those whose memories go back a few years must wonder why President Bush’s suspicious conduct as a businessman in the 1980s doesn’t deserve the same zealous oversight that Republicans accorded Bill and Hillary Clinton’s 1978 investment in the failed Whitewater real estate project in Arkansas, which netted them a $40,000 loss.

When the third and last special prosecutor closed the books on the wide-ranging investigation of the Clintons in 2000, he announced that no criminal wrongdoing could be found.

By this time, Congress had written checks for at least $52 million in costs for an investigation that continued the better part of Clinton’s two terms, an operation that by any definition was an obsessive Republican vendetta to nail the man who vanquished Bush the Elder.

Bush the Younger, however, can breathe easy.

The special prosecutor law has expired.

And, besides, any investigation of President Bush and sleazy corporate accounting practices ultimately would expose plenty of Democrats (such as presidential wannabe Sen. Joe Lieberman) and plenty of Republicans (such as the sainted Sen. Phil Gramm) who did the bidding of business lobbyists that made today’s fraudulent practices easy.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.