Pete Wilson II: Son of Enron

Pete Wilson was the governor before Gray Davis. He’s the man who signed
all the energy deregulation laws that allowed the market meltdown in 2001.
The blackouts, the energy crisis, the price gouging, the bankruptcies, the giggling Enron executives in Texas… all of that we owe to deregulation laws passed under one Pete Wilson. (Also Proposition 187, but I’ll get to that another day.)

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Schwarzenegger hired Pete Wilson as his campaign chairman and became Govnar. Now Govnar’s bringing back some of Wilson’s buddies from the Glory Days. Included on the transition team, for example, is an eminently pro-deregulation Wilson appointee to the Public Utilities Commission, one Jessie Knight. Apparently Govnar’s got his own brand of new and improved energy deregulation to roll out, though neither the public nor the legislature are in the mood. So says the Chron. (kudos needlenose) Cali lost $50 billion the last time around, but memories are short. . .

Some folks made a little noise during the campaign when investigative reporter Greg Plast dug up evidence that Govnar had met in a LA hotel with Ken Lay of Enron fame and Mike Milken, the man who gave junk-bonds a bad name. The Govnar meeting with two of the most infamous financial criminals in history didn’t look good. To Plast it looked evil and he speculated that the fix was in: Govnar would settle the Bustamonte’s Enron lawsuits for pennies on the dollar when he got into office. (Thank you, Council) Opportunity cost: $9 billion. . .

A funny little loophole in Prop 34, California’s campaign finance proposition, allows a candidate to secure a personal loan from a bank and to flip it over to their campaign. The candidate must then pay back the loan with donations collected after the election is over. Two oddities here are that the candidate can neither give nor loan the money to the campaign himself. The end game is that (1) political donors can remain unidentified until after the election (who bought your candidate?) and (2) it will be easier for donors to enforce quid pro quo campaign promises (If you pass this law I’ll donate $100,000).

This is relevant because during the campaign Schwarzenegger secured a loan for $4.5 million and used just such a loophole. Said the man at the time:

“You know something, when the voters vote for me they’re voting for me because they trust me… What does it matter if they read it now? . . . If it is before or after the election, the rules will stay the same.”

So says the Merc. Govnar must recieve (a small but significant) $4.5 million in donations from unknown (heh) persons to pay back a personal loan he himself can’t pay. I think he’ll get it soon. . .

Conclusion: Buy Enron at $92.