The widening investigation into the financial collapse of energy colossus Enron is causing lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to return political campaign contributions. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, said his committee has returned a $100,000 check to Enron.
Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., said he has directed his campaign treasurer to return a $9,000 contribution. Dingell is the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a panel with jurisdiction over the Enron case.
Sen. Jean Carnahan, D-Mo., said Sunday she would return the $1,000 donation that Enron sent to her campaign.
Center for Responsive Politics found after analyzing federal election documents that 71 senators and 187 House members received contributions from Enron between 1989 and 2001.
Texas Republican Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, with $99,500, and Phil Gramm, with $97,350, were the top congressional beneficiaries of Enron's political largesse, according to the center. Both have said they were not asked to help Enron during the company's financial meltdown.
Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., accepted $23,200 during the period, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., accepted almost $23,000. Schumer is on two committees that are planning hearings on Enron's collapse.
On the House side, the center found that the top Enron recipients were both Texas Democrats. Rep. Ken Bentsen received $42,750, and Sheila Jackson-Lee received $38,000.
Texas Republican Joe Barton got $28,909, and his fellow Texas Republican, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, received $28,900.
Enron filed for bankruptcy Dec. 2. By then, its stock had plummeted from about $83 a share a year earlier to less than $1 a share. In recent years many Enron executives sold their stock while Enron rank and file employees were barred from selling their shares in a 401-k retirement fund.