Threatened suit puts controller general in spotlight

posted on:
February 10, 2002



Washington- Accustomed to toiling unseen, Comptroller General David M. Walker out the spotlight on his congressional watchdog agency with a threat to sue Vice President Dick Cheney for papers about meetings with Enron and other energy companies.

“This is not something I sought,” said the former Arthur Anderson partner who worked for two Republican presidents but was named head of the General Accounting Office by a Democrat.

“I’ve got a job to do and I need to do my job,”

Right now, the 50-year-old Walker said that includes taking the White House to court, if necessary, to make officials identify the industry executives-including some from now-collapsed Enron Corp- who met last year with President Bush’s energy task force.

Such a lawsuit, which could come as early as next week, would be the GAO’s first against part of the federal government to get documents it wants. A reason it never as had t report to lawsuits before is its just-the-facts approach to culling information, earning it the status of premier arbiter of what’s true and untrue in government. Few have the audacity to challenge it.

The dispute began last April but gained political traction once Enron, the largest single corporate benefactor of Bush’s political career, entered into the biggest U.S. bankruptcy even on Dec. 2.

Bush has refused to hand over the documents from the Cheney-chaired task force that formulated a national energy policy, saying to do so would encroach on his ability to seek candid advice.-(AP)

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