The rise and fall of Enron Corp., which in one year went from giddy heights of being the world's largest energy trader to filing for bankruptcy protection, is more than just bad news for the nation's economy, stockholders and the thousands of employees whose retirement accounts were stolen from them.
It's a warning that Congress should pay attention to and act on the tragic fiasco, to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Enron lied to shareholders, its board of directors and the public. Then as the game unraveled, executives sold their company stock to give themselves millions in "bonuses" while preventing employees from selling their shares to save their retirement funds. Stocks that were worth $90 just months ago are now barely worth pennies.
The fact that Enron contributed mightily to President George W. Bush's campaign should offer the company zero protection. And neither should its status as a publicly traded corporation shelter its executives from the law.
The Security and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice should crack this company wide open and pursue criminal charges against senior managers who lied, cheated and stole.
In the future, look for the word "Enron" to be a synonym for "an unparalleled scam."