Judge - Administration must be serious about records

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

WASHINGTON -- A federal judge ordered the White House on Tuesday to save records from energy task force meetings and warned the Bush administration it must take seriously a private group's lawsuit seeking the records.

President Bush has refused to turn over records of meetings with Enron executives and others who advised the administration on energy policy last year.

Congress' investigative arm, the General Accounting Office, is expected to sue soon for the records' release. Tuesday's hearing involved a similar lawsuit, filed last July by the private group, Judicial Watch.

"I get the feeling the government's underestimating the seriousness of this case," U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan told Justice Department lawyer Anne Weismann.

He asked Weismann where the records were.

The Justice Department already had instructed the White House and the Commerce, Energy and Treasury departments to keep all Enron records.

Enron's collapse in December has renewed interest in records of Bush's energy policy task force, which was run by the vice president.

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