Monday | June 23, 2003
The Ashcroft/Westar connection
Earlier I wrote about a rumored connection between Ashcroft and the Westar scandal -- a connection that would perhaps explain our AG's refusal to even comment on the allegations, much less do anything about them.
Well, the connection is to former Westar Executive Vice President Carl Koupal (who left the company in 2001).
Koupal ran Ashcroft's 1976 campaign for MO attorney general and his 1984 race for governor of Missouri. He also served in some official capacity or other for all eight years of Ashcroft's administration.
There's more. In 2001, as Ashcroft was grilled by Senate Democrats during his confirmation hearings, our AG-to-be was accused of discrimination against gays. Paul Offner, a Georgetown University professor, argued that Ashcroft lied when he testified that he had never discriminated against gays. Offner had applied for a cabinet post in the Ashcroft administration in 1984, and faced the following first question from Ashcroft himself:
“My first question, Mr. Offner, is do you have the same sexual preferences as most men?”Koupal, as head of Ashcroft's transition team, was at the meeting, and denied Offner's allegations.
"I attended the meeting between Governor John Ashcroft and Paul Offner. Governor Ashcroft did not ask Paul Offner any questions with regard to his sexual preference."Given Ashcroft's clear hostility to gay issues as attorney general, it seems likely that Offner's account was probably correct, and that both Ashcroft and Koupal lied about the events that day (though of course, only three people will ever know the truth).
In his official capacity, Koupal aggressively raised money for GOP candidates, and was so brazen about it that the Westar board of directors concluded that Koupal and other company executives "engaged in organized efforts to provide political contributions to candidates…who were perceived to support issues of interest to the Company."
So Ashcroft's close buddy is wrapped up in the scandal. Is there any wonder he refuses to investigate what is clear influence peddling?
The whole sordid affair, and lots more that I might never find, are included in Westar's report on the matter (it's a PDF, 300+ pages long). The relevant info is on pages 349-357. The other 368 pages chronicles typical Enron-like corporate malfeasance of which Republican CEOs are so fond.