Politicians piling on in WorldCom troubles

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 15, 2002

We don’t know who knew what in the WorldCom scandal, but onething we do know is this an election year and politicians aretrying to make hay of the company’s troubles. Words of warning:beware of politicians who suddenly are righteous and pointingfingers at the evils of business or the entrepreneurship trade.Where was that righteousness when stock prices were soaring andjobs being created?

Our own Congressman Ronnie Shows has stepped into the middle ofthe righteous campaign, hoping to score some quick points. Showspledged to return his WorldCom donations and challenged hisopponent, Congressman Chip Pickering, to do the same.

Chip refused to return his $82,050, but Ronnie says his $6,000is going to help the families who have been laid off by WorldCom.Great political stunt, but we wonder if the 90 folks laid off inClinton have their $66.66 check yet!

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We are just as suspect of Congressman Shows’ town meeting thatwas held Saturday. He called it in Jackson to discuss the WorldComsituation. “We need to talk about what went wrong and what we cando to fix it,” the Congressman is quoted as saying.

No doubt people are mad over the situation, and when voters aremad, what better place to gain their support than in the middle ofan emotional town meeting where the politician “feels theirpain”!

We are not going to try to defend Bernie Ebbers or WorldCom, butit is obvious that in Washington — as evident by the many speechesmade in the opening rounds of Monday’s Congressional hearing –that WorldCom is now a political issue where truth and facts are oflittle importance when politics and public perception is atplay.

For many in the Democratic Party, including our own democraticcongressman, apparently a witch-hunt has begun in the name ofsaving our capitalistic system. Unfortunately, Bernie Ebbers,rightly or wrongly, is in the middle of it. Ebbers may very well beindicted before it is all over, because politicians are trying tomake him the political poster child for big business greed — anemotional issue that voters can grasp.