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What Enron’s political e-mails tell us about corporate lobbying

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During its investigation into wrongdoing into Enron, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission made public almost 500,000 internal company e-mails. These e-mails provide a unique look into the workings of the company, including how the company conducted its political operations. A few years ago, my friend and Georgetown Political Science Professor Daniel J. Hopkins approached me about analyzing what was in these e-mails. The results of our research are now published in the latest issue of Legislative Studies Quarterly, and a copy of our paper, “The Inside View: Using the Enron E-mail Archive to Understand Corporate Political Attention” can be downloaded here. To sum up our findings briefly, the e-mails show Enron’s political operations as very engaged in the narrow details of policy , keeping close tabs on daily developments and devoting considerable resources to agency rulemaking. Meanwhile, we found only sporadic discussion of campaign finance.

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