34 McGeorge L. Rev. 65 (2002-2003)
The Rise and Fall of Enron: A White House Nondisclosure Entangles Seperation of Powers and Contempt of Congress

handle is hein.journals/mcglr34 and id is 77 raw text is: The Rise and Fall of Enron: A White House Nondisclosure
Entangles Separation of Powers and Contempt of Congress
L. Darnell Weeden*
This article addresses whether President George W. Bush may refuse to
adequately provide the Comptroller General with information about Enron's role
in developing America's energy policy with a universal implicit or express
assertion of executive privilege without being held in contempt of Congress
under the separation of powers doctrine. The Comptroller General, an officer of
the federal legislative branch, is asserting legal authority to compel the Bush
Administration to disclose information about Enron's role in shaping our national
energy policy.' The General Accounting Office (GAO) believes that it has a right
to access information about who met with Vice President Dick Cheney's task
force in 2001 and what was discussed in those meetings2 under its power to
investigate all matters related to the receipt, disbursement, and use of public
money.3 In 2002, congressional investigators sued the White House in federal
district court for the first time in history in an effort to force Vice President
Cheney to disclose information about his energy task force's meetings with
business executives from Enron, a bankrupt Houston corporation, and other
* Professor, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University; B.A., J.D., University of
Mississippi. I thank Professor Cynthia K.Y. Lee (George Washington University Law School), Professor John
Brittain (Thurgood Marshall School of Law), and Timberly Davis (Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Class of
2003) for their valuable review and comments on earlier drafts of this article. I am declaring appreciation to
interim Dean MeKen Carrington of Thurgood Marshall School of Law and to the Texas Southern University
Research Center for their financial help. Work on this article was supported by a 2002 summer research stipend
from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. I would like to thank Anya Anga, Reference Librarian at Thurgood
Marshall School of Law, for her support and assistance. I am indebted as well to the organizers and participants
at the 2002 Northeast People of Color Conference (June 13-15, 2002, Barbados, West Indies) for the chance to
present an initial version of this article as a work in progress. This article has benefited from their comments,
insights, and questions.
I. GAO Sues to Force Cheney to List Names; Role of Enron and Others in National Policy at Issue, THE
COM. APPEAL (Memphis), Feb. 23, 2002, at Al, available at 2002 WL 3463730.
The investigative arm of Congress filed suit Friday against the Bush [A]dministration, an
unprecedented legal action growing out of a [ten]-month standoff between the executive and
legislative branches of government. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, was
named [Walker v. Cheney]. David Walker is U.S. Comptroller General and head of the General
Accounting Office of Congress. Dick Cheney is the Vice President and head of the
administration's interagency energy task force, the focus of the litigation. The GAO is seeking a
court order to force Cheney to reveal the names of those he met with as the task force was
forming national energy policy.
2. Id.
3. 31 U.S.C.A. § 712(1) (West 1993).

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