PracticeAccounting FirmsAndersen grilled over Enron consulting contracts

Andersen grilled over Enron consulting contracts

Politicians continued to grill Andersen about its role in the Enron affair yesterday with demands for details including consultancy contracts with the failed energy company's 'special purpose' partnerships.

As a follow-up to last Thursday’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee public hearing, Billy Tauzin, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent the firm a letter with questions covering consultancy services provided to Enron partnerships, the names of document shredders, the role of an outside lawyer hired by Andersen on 9 October 2001 and the reasons for the timing of this appointment.

Tauzin demanded details of any consulting contracts between Andersen and Enron, and between Andersen and Enron’s host of special purpose partnerships. The politician also wants to know who is involved in Andersen’s own investigation into the scandal, and demanded lists of employees, other than David Duncan, involved in destroying documents.

Tauzin asked Andersen about the hiring of law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell and the specific work that attorneys will undertake. The lawyer angle was a much-laboured question during last week’s hearing as interrogators pondered on how Andersen had hired a lawyer in anticipation of Enron trouble some two weeks before Duncan succeeded in executing a massive document shredding operation.

Tauzin asked Andersen at what point it hired outside counsel to handle the Waste Management and Sunbeam cases, and when Andersen ordered employees to preserve related documents.

Tauzin will hold the first full Commerce Committee public Enron hearing on February 6. The letter was co-signed by Oversight Committee chair James Greenwood.

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