Lieberman Responds to Information Provided By White House

WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., issued the following statement Thursday in response to information the White House provided the Committee late Wednesday:

“The information provided by the White House yesterday did not respond to the subpoenas the Committee issued. The Committee subpoenas require the White House to provide documents related to its contacts with Enron and other agencies about Enron by June 3, and we look forward to reviewing that material — including documents related to the contacts and communications outlined in the White House Counsel’s letter which we received yesterday.

“My staff is reviewing the letter as part of the Committee’s broader look at the government’s interactions with Enron. Therefore, I don’t want to prematurely comment on the substance. But staff has observed that the White House’s response is inadequate even for what it is — a partial response to the Committee’s March 27 request.

“To begin with, the White House itself seems to acknowledge that it wasn’t giving us all non-privileged responsive information it already collected. In the White House Counsel’s words, they’ve given us only what they’ve ‘collected thus far that is ready for disclosure.’

“Just as importantly, in many cases they’ve left out details the Committee asked for — such as who attended meetings or took part in communications and when all of the communications occurred. And, they don’t tell us what we’ve repeatedly asked for: whether they will compile a comprehensive list of contacts the President, the Vice President, and former employees had with Enron and turn that information over to the Committee, unless it is privileged.

“In short, it seems like the White House is still saying it will disclose what it wants to disclose, not what we’ve asked for. That’s why the Committee had to resort to issuing subpoenas yesterday.

“I would note that even the inadequate information provided yesterday shows a larger number of contacts between the EOP and Enron than previously known. I don’t know whether learning more about those contacts will ultimately tell us that the government could or should have done something different with respect to Enron; as I emphasized yesterday, we are committed to being investigatory, not accusatory. But I do know that our Committee’s investigation would not be complete if we didn’t ask these reasonable questions about White House interactions with Enron, and if the White House doesn’t answer them.

“The public, which has been so hurt by the Enron scandal, has a right to the answers to these questions. We look forward to seeing the White House’s response by June 3.”