By MARC McDONALD
So Hillary Clinton has decided to return donations linked to disgraced fundraiser Norman Hsu.
OK, good: that was the right thing to do.
And while we're on the topic of campaign donations, I have a question for the Republicans.
When will George W. Bush return the $1.14 million that his campaign received from Enron?
You remember Enron, don't you? It was only the most evil corporation in the history of American capitalism (and that's really saying something).
And while it's unclear exactly what Hsu ever got for his efforts to raise money for Clinton, it's quite clear what Enron got in return for the cash it gave Bush.
For a start, Enron got a seat at the table to meet in secret with Dick Cheney to help plan the country's energy policies. Bush also went to bat for Enron and fought against federal price caps that allowed Enron to price-gouge millions of energy customers in California, a fiasco that nearly bankrupted that state. As a result, Enron reported increased revenues of almost $70 billion from the previous year.
As Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) put it, "senior Enron executives were enriching themselves at the same time that Enron was lavishing large campaign contributions on President Bush and the Republican Party and apparently influencing the administration's energy policies."
The whole sordid Bush/Enron saga is way too sweeping and complex to go into detail here. But suffice it to say, the entire rotten mess towers over the nickel-dime, chump-change Norman Hsu affair.
And, unlike the Hsu case (which was quite limited in its impact), the Enron affair ultimately was very costly to millions of ordinary Americans. These ranged from shell-shocked California energy customers to thousands of screwed Enron employees, who were forced to invest their retirement plans in company stock that plunged in value even as top executives were raking in millions by cashing in their shares when Enron stock was at its peak.
The MSM held Clinton's feet to the fire until she decided to return the Hsu donations. Now, will the pundits demand that Bush return the $1.14 million that his campaign got from Enron?