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Exposing Big Business's bad actors

Public Citizen's Corporate Crime Center is a clearinghouse of information about our work to shed light on Corporate America's attempts to dodge corporate accountability laws, roll back consumer protections and influence legislation and government policy through campaign contributions and lobbying.

Westar Energy campaign finance scandal

Executives at Westar Energy, a Kansas utility whose former CEO is under indictment for multiple counts of fraud, left a paper trail showing their scheme to exchange campaign cash for a key regulatory exemption.

Memos released by the company as part of its internal fraud investigation outline Westar's plan to contribute cash to influential lawmakers in exchange for their support of a regulatory exemption that would have enabled Westar to split its regulated utility from the rest of its businesses. Under this move, executives would have reaped millions while $3 billion in unrelated debt would have been transferred to the utility company, saddling consumer with higher electricity rates. The memos explicitly state that the company hoped the contributions to lawmakers such as House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would buy it a "seat at the table" in the legislative process. Click here to read more.

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