Congress to sue White House over refusal to reveal Enron documents

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The Independent US

The Enron scandal finally enveloped the Bush administration last night with the disclosure that Congress was poised to take legal action against the White House over the affair.

Sources on Capitol Hill said the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, had informed congressional leaders of its unprecedented decision yester-day morning. The GAO will launch a court action over the White House's refusal to reveal who it consulted while formulating its energy policy. Enron was among the companies that met the task force of Vice-President Dick Cheney.

The news came as American union leaders argued yesterday that the Tory peer Lord Wakeham should lose his company directorships unless he could demonstrate that he acted properly during the collapse of Enron, of which he is a non- executive director.

A decision had been expected for days on whether the GAO would, for the first time in its 80-year history, decide to take the executive branch of the US government to court.

The matter dates back to a request made by the Demo-crats last April for the GAO to investigate the way the Bush administration had reached its energy policy – a package that critics say ignored environmental concerns and favoured energy companies, many of which were substantial donors to Mr Bush's presidential campaign.

Mr Cheney and Mr Bush have indicated that they expect the matter to go to court. Mr Cheney said last weekend that providing a list of executives he had met would harm his ability to receive advice.

Mr Bush has said: "Those who offer me opinions, or offer the Vice-President opinions, must know that every word they say is not going into the public record."

The San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday that Enron's former chairman, Kenneth Lay, gave Mr Cheney a document last April detailing Enron's arguments against measures to stabilise electricity prices in California.