In a televised speech to California residents on April 5, 2001, Davis resisted Cheney's and Hebert's calls to increase electricity rates for average consumers to keep the state's public utilities afloat, opting instead to increase electricity rates of the state's largest power customers such as manufacturing plants. The next morning PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Davis publicly railed against the Bush administration's refusal to launch an investigation into wholesale energy companies trading practices, and its position on price caps. Davis's rhetoric started to impact the Bush administration's approval ratings. Rove, working closely with Cheney, entered into discussions on how the White House would respond to criticism by Davis that the Bush administration was turning its back on California.
"Karl [Rove] started to talk about using the resources of former Republican National Committee staffers to put together an attack campaign against Davis, and pin the power problems on the governor and his administration," according to one former high-level Energy Department official who was privy to the conversation between Rove and Cheney.
Rove enlisted the help of former RNC staffers Ed Gillespie, then a lobbyist who was working for Enron and other energy companies, and Scott Reed, who used to work for the RNC and was the former manager of Robert Dole's presidential campaign, to start devising a strategy to attack Davis and lead people to believe that the energy crisis was entirely his fault. Gillespie was recently tapped by President Bush to replace Dan Bartlett as White House counselor.
Reed and Gillespie, who was doing double duty advising Cheney's energy task force on behalf of Enron, advised Rove and the vice president that the PG&E bankruptcy left Davis vulnerable and the best course of action for the White House was to take advantage of Davis's vulnerability by stating that Davis single-handedly, in refusing to raise electricity rates, caused one of the largest bankruptcies in American history. Gillespie went a step further, according to Energy Department officials familiar with his conversations with Rove and Cheney, by suggesting that the White House start courting Republican gubernatorial candidates to replace Davis in the 2002 election.
At the White House in April 2001, Rove met with Brad Freeman, President Bush's California finance chairman during the 2000 presidential campaign, and Gerald Parsky, an investment banker, who was Bush's top adviser in California. The discussion centered on Parsky and Freeman's interest in courting actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to discuss his bid for governor in 2002.
"That would be nice," Rove said about the possibility of Schwarzenegger, a Republican, to replace Davis as governor, according to people who were briefed about the meeting. "That would be really, really nice."
Davis said he could see now see how the energy crisis created a political opportunity for the White House in California.
"In retrospect I could see how that happened," Davis said. "There's no question that the energy companies saw me as an adversary when I wouldn't buckle under their demands. I was vulnerable and the [energy companies and the White House] took advantage of it. This crisis took place in the early days of the Bush administration. I figured these guys are too busy picking out furniture for their offices. I didn't think they [the Bush administration] were spending their days in office involved in some full-scale conspiracy. But it turns out they were."
Immediately following reports that Cheney relied upon the recommendations of 400 energy industry executives to draft the National Energy Policy, lawmakers began to demand that the vice president turn over documents regarding his task force meetings to Congress. The vice president vehemently refused.
With White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales weighing in on the issue, the administration exerted "executive privilege" as the reason it refused to turn over task force documents to Democratic lawmakers. The issue reached the Supreme Court that ruled in Cheney's favor. As Attorney General, Gonzales still refuses to publicly release audiotapes from 2000 and 2001 in which other energy companies were also found to have discussed ways in which to manipulate the California energy market. Some of the heads of those companies implicated in the crisis also provided Cheney with input on the National Energy Policy.
Up to their eyeballs in "Executive Mischief" this article shows how the Mis-Administration manipulates and deceives to get what it wants.
This was back in 2000 and 2001, just think of the stranglehold they have on things seven years later.
Impeachment is too good, firing squad would serve a better purpose.
Traitors one and all!