Bush faces major challenges to his energy policy

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Presidential investigators probing George Bush’s energy empire

By Michael J. R. Bandler and Kevin M. Kruse, Times Staff Writers


Presidential investigators probing George Bush’s energy empire

WASHINGTON — President Bush began his second term in great optimism as he began to cut $30 billion in the Energy Task Force’s budget, and he would continue cutting at least $30 billion in the years ahead. But amid the steady flow of revenue from energy companies and from the controversial government program known as “alternative energy source” tax credits, Bush faces major challenges to his ambitious plans for government energy policy. The task force’s goal of cutting $30 billion in federal spending by 2003 has also prompted an inquiry under the President’s Council on Competitiveness, and investigations of the administration’s energy policy by Congress and the Justice Department. And after taking office, Bush has been under pressure to balance his budget by 2003. A senior administration official said the issue of energy policy was discussed during the transition and was on the agenda for the Bush-Kerry meeting scheduled for next Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The investigation under the council was announced in November as part of an effort to evaluate the impact of energy policy on the country’s competitiveness. The council is an independent, nonpartisan bipartisan board appointed by the White House Council of Economic Advisers. It has the power to make recommendations to the president. The White House had no comment about the council’s current investigation.

The Washington attorney who investigated Bush for allegedly trying to manipulate official White House records has won a $27.5 million judgment against the president. Kenneth Minihan, a former lawyer for the Justice Department

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