culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Monday, January 13, 2003
Charity begins at home — Ken Lay's home. In the shell game played by wealthy friends of George W. Bush, you would expect not to find evidence of their larcenies in reports on private charitable foundations. This report in the
New York Times might change your mind:
Consider the Linda and Ken Lay Family Foundation of Houston. Mr. Lay was chairman of Enron, and 90 percent of the foundation assets, valued at $52.2 million at the end of 2000, were in Enron stock.

The foundation could comfortably afford a full-time director, Heather H. Herrold, whose salary was $83,684. Mr. Lay got a tax deduction based on the value of Enron stock when he gave it to the foundation.

Enron went bankrupt amid scandal in late 2001, and the foundation recently reported that its assets had fallen to $2.4 million, forcing it to postpone many pledges. The Internal Revenue Service may not, however, retroactively revoke part of Mr. Lay's deduction to reflect the decline in the foundation's value.
Bear Left!, in an excellent overview, reports that Lay donated over $20.5 million in stock in 1999 and 2000. Tax deductions are only useful when applied against income, which suggests that Ken Lay had substantial income to protect in 2000. Since we know that his insider trades prior to the Enron bankruptcy amounted to roughly $70 million, this means that not only did he lie to analysts and shareholders while he was selling his shares, but, adding injury to insult, he also underpaid taxes on his insider plunder.

Let's review:
  • Ken Lay created a foundation out of Enron stock worth about $52.2 million in 2000 — which he was simultaneously selling to the tune of about $70 million.
  • Ken Lay did this while urging stock analysts and employees to invest in the stock for investment growth and 401(k) participation.
  • Ken Lay took a multimillion tax deduction for the donation of the stock.
  • The foundation recently reported that its assets had fallen to $2.4 million.
  • The foundation is reneging on its pledges to the charitable causes it would supposedly help.
  • The IRS "may not" retroactively revoke part of the deduction to reflect the decline in the foundation's value.

Ken "Kenny Boy" and Linda "Jus' Stuff" Lay received the full benefit of a multimillion tax deduction on now near-worthless stock used to fund a charity foundation which has helped no one. No one but them.

Meanwhile, close friend Bush's "stimulus package," half of which is tax elimination on dividend (i.e., unearned) income, benefits the wealthy who don't need help, already have figured out all the loopholes, and are playing the existing shell game of insider trades, charitable foundations and tax deductions in their favor.

Greatest Hits · Alternatives to First Command Financial Planning · First Command, last resort, Part 3 · Part 2 · Part 1 · Stealing $50K from a widow: Wells Real Estate · Leo Wells, REITs and divine wealth · Sex-crazed Red State teenagers · What I hate: a manifesto · Spawn of Darleen Druyun · All-American high school sex party · Why is Ken Lay smiling? · Poppy's Enron birthday party · The Saudi money laundry and the president's uncle · The sentence of Enron's John Forney · The holiness of Neil Bush's marriage · The Silence of Cheney: a poem · South Park Christians · Capitalist against Bush: Warren Buffett · Fastow childen vs. Enron children · Give your prescription money to your old boss · Neil Bush, hard-working matchmaker · Republicans against fetuses and pregnant women · Emboldened Ken Lay · Faith-based jails · Please die for me so I can skip your funeral · A brief illustrated history of the Republican Party · Nancy Victory · Soldiers become accountants · Beware the Merrill Lynch mob · Darleen Druyun's $5.7 billion surprise · First responder funding · Hoovering the country · First Command fifty percent load · Ken Lay and the Atkins diet · Halliburton WMD · Leave no CEO behind · August in Crawford · Elaine Pagels · Profitable slave labor at Halliburton · Tom Hanks + Mujahideen · Sharon & Neilsie Bush · One weekend a month, or eternity · Is the US pumping Iraqi oil to Kuwait? · Cheney's war · Seth Glickenhaus: Capitalist against Bush · Martha's blow job · Mark Belnick: Tyco Catholic nut · Cheney's deferred Halliburton compensation · Jeb sucks sugar cane · Poindexter & LifeLog · American Family Association panic · Riley Bechtel and the crony economy · The Book of Sharon (Bush) · The Art of Enron · Plunder convention · Waiting in Kuwait: Jay Garner · What's an Army private worth? · Barbara Bodine, Queen of Baghdad · Sneaky bastards at Halliburton · Golf course and barbecue military strategy · Enron at large · Recent astroturf · Cracker Chic 2 · No business like war business · Big Brother · Martha Stewart vs. Thomas White · Roger Kimball, disappointed Republican poetry fan · Cheney, Lay, Afghanistan · Terry Lynn Barton, crimes of burning · Feasting at the Cheney trough · Who would Jesus indict? · Return of the Carlyle Group · Duct tape is for little people · GOP and bad medicine · Sears Tower vs Mt Rushmore · Scared Christians · Crooked playing field · John O'Neill: The man who knew · Back to the top

. . .