The Enron Corp. controversy”s, developments and repercussions were the major issues touched upon by 23-term State Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn) in an informal discussion with students on Friday.

Paul Wong
Dingell

The Enron scandal was “an event which involved massive theft, disregard of fiduciary responsibility by corporate officers, entirely bad, deceitful and false accounting,” Dingell said, adding that the mess would be “the largest bankruptcy we”ve ever seen.”

Dingell stressed that honest accounting via a regulatory agency is necessary after the investing disaster.

“If we don”t have honest accounting we can be in the same situation where the Japanese and some of the countries in the East and even in Europe are, where they don”t know what they have,” he said.

Dingell also emphasized that the lack of honest peer review was a contributing factor in Enron”s downfall, but Congress was also at fault for not funding the Securities and Exchange Commission to carry out its responsibilities.

“Everybody lied to each other while they all stole nobody knew what was going on,” he said.

Dingell chaired the Committee on Energy and Commerce for seven Congresses, and students participating in the discussion focused their questions on energy conservation and environment issues.

Students were impressed by Dingell”s reputation as the representative who is currently serving the longest series of terms, which began in 1955.

“He”s one of the most respected politicians,” Rackham student Leon Andrews said. “He represents what”s good about Capitol Hill.”

Dingell is running for reelection this year against State Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Ann Arbor).

Before the informal question-and-answer discussion, Dingell”s analysis of Washington, which included predictions of a larger deficit after Enron, interested some audience members as well.

“He definitely gave us a good sense of the political backdrop he”s facing,” Rackham student Jose Arredondo said.

The event was sponsored by the Ford School of Public Policy Speaker Committee and held at the Foster Library in Lorch Hall.

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