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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Monday, July 15, 2002

Original Idea Alert!

We won't do this often, but ocassionally we have a good idea. I was mentally comparing Enron and Harken Energy, thusly:

Enron: share price falls from Big Number to "One over Infinity, and Beyond!";
Harken Energy: share price is above Bush's sale price a year after controversial sale; company still going strong today.

Enron: Insider rats desert sinking ship during death spiral with large personal gains;
Harken Energy: only Bush is in the news as having jumped non-sinking ship.

And then I pause, as a lightbulb flickers overhead. If I had some old SEC reports, I could see if other insiders and directors were getting out in unusual amounts around the time of Bush's sale. If they were, that would be consistent with an "Enron-like" story where insiders knew bad news was coming and bailed out, hurting passive outsiders. On the other hand, if other insiders were sitting tight, then Bush's sale looks a lot more like an innocent one-off transaction, as the SEC ultimately concluded. No den of thieves at all, very exculpatory. Hmmm.

So now all I have to do is find some damn documents. Not a bad idea, hey? Or, if you hate it, stop me now and tell me why. Or even better, do the work and get yourself a great mention at the NRO. Make news! Live! I have relatives in town, so I will be living, but probably not making news.

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