WASHINGTON (AP) The White House disclosed yesterday it was concerned about how a potential Enron collapse would affect the U.S. economy and had economic adviser Larry Lindsey, a former Enron board member, study the issue.
The disclosure came as congressional investigators questioned the fired Arthur Andersen auditor who the company says led a rush effort to destroy Enron documents. The accounting firm says the destruction began after Enron announced the Securities and Exchange Commission had launched an inquiry of the energy company.
Staffers from the House Energy and Commerce Committee interviewed fired auditor David Duncan for several hours yesterday afternoon. “It went very well,” said Edith Holleman, a Democratic staff member.
At the White House, spokesman Ari Fleischer said Lindsey and his economic team concluded that Enron”s collapse would not hurt the U.S. and global markets the same finding reached by Peter Fisher, the Treasury undersecretary in charge of financial markets. Fisher”s review stemmed from two phone calls from Enron Chairman Ken Lay to Treasury Secretary Paul O”Neill on Oct. 28 and Nov. 8. The Lindsey review began in mid-October.
Lindsey, who was paid $50,000 by Enron as a member of the company”s advisory board, has said he had no contact with Enron about its financial woes.
In a separate development, the former chief of staff for Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who is leading one of the investigations of Enron, tried unsuccessfully last summer to arrange a meeting between the senator and Lay, the Enron chairman. Lieberman”s spokesman, Dan Gerstein, said he does not know what Lay wanted to meet about.