BELLE, W. Va. – Enron's employees are not suffering alone from the collapse of the energy giant following questionable business procedures. President Bush's mother-in-law lost $8,100 in the bankruptcy, adding to the president's outrage over Enron's financial practices.
"What I'm outraged about is that employees didn't know all the facts about Enron. My own mother-in-law bought stock last summer and it's not worth anything now," Bush said.
Bush's mother-in-law, Jenna Welch, "did not know all the facts" about Enron's financial situation, according to Bush. "A lot of the stockholders didn't know all of the facts. And that's wrong," he told machine workers in West Virginia Tuesday.
Mrs. Welch bought 200 shares of Enron stock at $40.90 per share on Sept. 21, 1999, according to White House aides. Two days after Enron declared bankruptcy on Dec. 2, 2001, Welch sold the lot for 42 cents per share. She lost just under $8,100.
In the fall of 2000, Enron's stock reached $90 a share, but its drop to below $1 per share left thousands of Enron employees and shareholders, including some members of Congress, with losses ranging from a few thousand dollars to entire life savings.
Congress is investigating the Enron failure, but Bush warned them not to make it into a political issue that will distract legislators from their priorities.
"Congress also needs to stay focused on the American people. We're in a war. We've got to make sure our homeland is secure and we've got to make sure that people can find work," he said.
The Justice Department and several other federal agencies are also investigating Enron and the president said he would focus on reviewing pension policies in the wake of the company's rapid fall.
Bush said he had no intention of releasing details of Enron contacts with White House aides who developed his energy plan, saying if "somebody has an accusation of wrongdoing, let me know."
"Our administration has done exactly the right thing," he said. "There have been a couple of contacts and my Cabinet said no help here."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.