It may be difficult to believe, but the fallout from the Enron disaster goes on. The Washington Post reported today that a whistleblower who prodded the IRS to act in 1999—two years before the company filed for bankruptcy—should be paid $1.1 million by the IRS for its failure to act on the information he provided about Enron’s shell companies.
Enron’s corrupt culture and illicit bookkeeping were, of course, the theme of Jigsaw’s 2005 documentary, ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room. As was apparent from those interviewed in the film, the culture at Enron was not one that would have accepted, let alone encouraged, whistleblowers. But just as important to the film’s message was the fact that the corporate system surrounding the Enron company—from law firms to auditors to policymakers—were just as responsible for fostering the culture of greedy permissiveness that spawned the problem. The constituents of that system didn’t care much for whistleblowing either. Here in this IRS case, we see that system indicted, and indeed convicted, yet again.