Electric Avenues

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Electric Avenues

Deregulating utilities would only increase his power.

by Rachel Burstein

#53 Kenneth and Linda Lay, Houston, Texas. Party: Both. $224,400 total contributions.

View the Lays’ itemized contributions.

Kenneth Lay Kenneth Lay wants to light up your life. The head of Enron Corp., America’s largest seller of natural gas and electricity to utility companies, Lay hopes his company will become the “AT&T for the electricity business.” He’s lobbied Congress to let him sell directly to consumers.

Rep. Dan Schaefer (R-Colo.) has introduced a helpful bit of deregulatory legislation that Lay hopes will net $30 billion in new business for his company alone. “We’re in communication with Enron all the time,” says Schaefer’s press secretary, Dana Perino.

Lay has testified that consumers could save $80 billion annually under deregulation. But environmentalists argue that unbridled competition could worsen pollution as providers turn to cheaper fuels such as coal. Constancy of service is another concern.

“It’s not like deregulating your cable company,” says Adrienne Mitchem of the Consumers Union. “If you lose electricity, it can mean life or death.”

Photo Credit: Dan Holmes

Next Profile | MoJo 400 Central

 

The 400 List:

Browse
The full Mother Jones 400 list.

Profiles
Meet the people with political pull.

 

Searches:

Individuals
Search the top 400 political donors by name, industry, state, or contribution amount.

Itemized Contributions
The details of every donation, searchable by donor, recipient, date, amount, and more.

 

Discuss:

Money & Politics
Is campaign finance reform the way to a better government?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest