Thin Line Between Company and Party (Part 2)

In Part 1 I wrote about Enron and its web of connections to the Republican Party, channeling money to The Party through campaign cash, lobbying, think tanks, paying salaries of campaign workers, etc. (Sorry, I forgot to mention use of Enron jets and facilities for Party activities…) This sort of thing is not unique to Enron. There are a number of companies that have gained attention because they seem to operate as arms of The Party.

Read this July Washington Post article.

Republican National Committee Chairman Marc F. Racicot sits on Siebel’s board of directors. Seibel Systems CEO sends e-mails to employees, “asking” them to “donate” $5,000 to a “PAC” which all goes to Republicans. (Having been an executive, I hate to think what would happen to an executive who chooses not do “donate.” Maybe regular employees can get away with it, but don’t forget this is in a time of terrible job fear here in Silicon Valley.)

“Siebel, the brash chief executive officer of software maker Siebel Systems Inc., last year beamed e-mails to hundreds of his most fervent employees with an unmistakable message: Cough up $5,000 each for the company’s new political action committee.

The response was something this town has never seen: within weeks, more than 350 workers heeded the CEO’s call…”

Also in the article, Seibel meets with lawmakers, talks to them about writing his company’s products into the Homeland Security bill and then writes them a check, making it clear that the check is linked to the talk. Seible and people from his company get special meetings to demonstrate products to members of the Administration.

“”Company officials said their campaign has already paid dividends: It has been awarded several grants and is well-positioned to land others when the administration divvies up the homeland defense money.”

Where does the company end, and “The Party” begin?

More to come…