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White House turns over Enron papers

White House turns over Enron papers

From John King
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House gave a Senate committee more than 2,000 pages of documents Tuesday detailing administration contacts with the Enron Corp., begrudgingly complying with a congressional subpoena.

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee subpoenaed the records, but the White House delayed handing them over while it tried to reach an agreement on how the documents would be handled and on standards for public release.

The White House said the committee refused to agree to allow the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, to have veto power over public release of the records.

The White House also wanted to be notified 24 hours before any records were released. Officials said that was the policy in place when Thompson was chairman and led several investigations into Clinton administration conduct.

The committee now is chaired by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Connecticut.

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White House spokeswoman Ann Womack said the administration was "disappointed" that an agreement on handling the documents could not be reached, but said the administration sent the documents to the committee late Tuesday because it wanted to fully cooperate with the investigation.

The White House called on the panel to use the records "in a thoughtful and deliberative manner and not for a partisan fishing expedition."

White House counsel Alberto Gonzales said previously that a review of White House records found no evidence of any Enron requests of anyone in the Executive Office of the President or the Office of the Vice President for help before its bankruptcy filing, or any inappropriate conduct by any officials in those offices.

He said the documents show Enron did communicate policy positions to administration officials.

A White House official said there were 1,745 pages of records from the president's office and roughly 460 pages of records from the vice president's office turned over to the committee.

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Commerce Secretary Don Evans said earlier that they were contacted by senior Enron officials but declined to take actions on behalf of the now bankrupt energy giant.




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