Media Advisory: Experts Available for Comment on Skilling Sentence

October 23, 2006
Michael Van Winkle

(October 23, 2006 - Chicago, Illinois) Jeffrey Skilling will be sentenced today in a Houston courthouse for his role in the collapse of Enron. Some reports have suggested he will receive as much as a 30-year sentence. Experts affiliated with The Heartland Institute have questioned the Skilling conviction and urged the sentencing judge to weigh carefully the real economic costs and benefits of Skilling's activity.

In a letter to the Honorable Sim Lake dated September 21, 2006, attorney Paul Fisher and economist Jim Johnston wrote:

"If the misrepresentation of Enron's financial condition in 2001 as alleged in the indictment had not occurred, presumably the bad news would have been known earlier. That in turn would have caused the Enron share price to collapse sooner and even less time would have been available for investors and employees to liquidate their holdings. The implications of this reality is that there was no additional harm done to the investors and employees from the alleged hiding of Enron's profit and losses. While it may have changed the identity of the losers it did not increase the totality of the losses." [Download full PDF of letter]

Attorney Paul Fisher is a partner at the law firm of McGuire Woods LLC and Jim Johnston is an economist retired from the Amoco Corporation. Both are unpaid directors of The Heartland Institute, and neither has any connection with the Enron case.

To contact Paul Fisher for further comment on the Skilling sentence call 312/849-8244 or email pfisher@mcguirewoods.com. To contact Jim Johnston call 312/259-1294 or email johnston@heartland.org.

For more information about The Heartland Institute or for assistance contacting either Johnston or Fisher, contact Michael Van Winkle at 312/377-4000 or email vanwinkle@heartland.org.