Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002
 
More Rightist Spin

Instapundit is getting ready to slap the cuffs on Robert Rubin:

ROBERT MUSIL says that Robert Rubin faces serious risk under the False Statements Act for statements he made denying or obfuscating his involvement with certain Enron-related events.

And in fact Musil does discuss Rubin's liabilities under the FSA:

The False Statements Act applies to every matter within the jurisdiction of every executive, legislative and judicial agency of the U.S. government.

So the False Statements Act probably applied to Robert Rubin's bizarre and notorious telephone call to Peter Fisher, in which Mr. Rubin reportedly asked Mr. Fisher to pressure the bond rating agencies to delay the then-expected downgrade of Enron debt. It applies to any statements Mr. Rubin has made regarding his knowledge of Enron to federal bank regulators or to the Securities and Exchange Commission or to Congress

Mr. Rubin should be carefully investigated for violation of the False Statements Act.

There is one trivial detail that's been omitted from this discussion of Mr Rubin's crimes: neither Musil nor Glenn provides a single example of a statement Rubin made that they believe to have been false. I understand that in some circles it's considered a sign of moral weakness to get picky about these matters when going after anybody associated with Bill Clinton, but a law professor ought to at least be aware of this point. Glenn's post strongly implies that specific false statements are under discussion: what are those statements?

It is completely proper to require Rubin to testify under oath concerning the notorious phone call in which Rubin tried to persuade a Treasury Undersecretary to prevent downgrading of Enron's credit rating. It is appropriate to ask how much he knew about the other Enron/Citigroup dealings revealed today. There's no reason so far to believe he had significant knowledge - it's already clear he wasn't at Citigroup when the deals were made, and Citigroup is a huge company with a lot of irons in a lot of fires. I haven't seen any evidence that Rubin had managerial responsibility, even after the fact, over the division that made the Enron trades.

These are legitimate questions to ask, but the eagerness to go after Rubin looks more like politics than like getting to the bottom of Enron. As if to emphasize the point, Sully now wants to pin not only Enron but the entire stock slump on Rubin.



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