July 13, 2004

Taking Responsibility

Lay rejects blame for criminal conduct he wasn't aware of - Jul. 12, 2004

A dilly of a news item; Ken Lay says he's responsible, but that he's not to blame.

Former Enron Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth Lay said Monday in a television interview that he takes full responsibility for events at Enron -- both the positive and negative -- but denies he is to blame for criminal conduct that caused the collapse of the Houston energy giant.

Let's talk for a second about "responsibility". It's not a catch-phrase. It's not something you can just throw around and say. It's a way of identifying who is the person who will be the one to get the congradulations or the blame on a given project. It's a way of identifying who leads, who will be the head, and who will make the decisions. It's a way of making sure that if things go wrong, it won't happen again.

In other words, you can't say you're "responsible", and then say that it's not your fault. If you're responsible, it's your fault. He is to blame for hiring such incompetent people that they're now in jail. That's what being responsible is.

Now, as to criminal blame; maybe *there*, I could see that Ken Lay believes he's not to blame, if he didn't know. But this massive, massive amount of conniving, double-dealing and three-card-monty of companies is so extra-ordinarily wide-spread in the company, that Ken Lay either had to know, or was patently ignoring his job. If he knew and was ignoring what was happening, then he's criminally complicent. If he's ignoring his job, then he's criminally negligent. Either way, Ken Lay's guilt is pretty easy to see.

Saying your responsible, despite what Richard Clarke did, isn't a universal salve on a bad situation. Saying it in the same breath you claim innocence is just childish.

Posted by Ted Stevko at July 13, 2004 07:45 AM | TrackBack