But David Harris, executive director of American Jewish Committee, said it wouldn't be wise to overreact negatively to Bush's scheme. "I only have what I see in front of me, and at first glance it doesn't necessarily have a sinister overtone to it. . . . I think that it could certainly be interpreted very benignly. . . . I mean people need to be alert, and that seems to be logical and sensible under the very unusual times we live in. It seems to be commonsensical."

Joe Loconte, point man at the Heritage Foundation for the conservative political program aimed at having faith-based institutions deliver social-welfare services, contended that there is nothing wrong with using "congregations in a civil society," adding, "Congregations are a natural source. It's just a great collection of people in the urban context." He pointed out that "congregations were the foot soldiers in the civil rights movement."

Bush worships the idea of an informed citizenry.
photo: Jake Price
Bush worships the idea of an informed citizenry.

Top Execs Land Safely Atop Wall Street Debris
The Great Cash of 2002

While the Crash of 2002 is being attributed to corporate officials misleading investors through slick accounting practices and outright lies, only a tiny slice of the top guns responsible for these dealings have been charged with civil or criminal offenses. In fact, many of them have walked away from the crash with hundreds of millions of dollars in salaries, forgiven loans, and other bundles of loot. Consider the disposition, so far, of six major crack-ups:

ENRON—Filed for Chapter 11 in December 2001. Numerous class-action civil suits. No civil or criminal charges. Execs: CEO Kenneth L. Lay resigned in January 2002 after pulling in $152.6 million during 2001. CFO Andrew Fastow was fired in October 2001 after scoring $4.2 million in 2001.

WORLDCOM—Filed a $107 billion bankruptcy over the weekend. The SEC has charged the company with defrauding investors by improperly accounting for $3.9 billion in expenses. Execs: CEO Bernard Ebbers quit April 30, 2002; his compensation last year was $34.5 million. Outstanding loans of $336 million forgiven. CFO Scott Sullivan was fired June 25, 2002; his compensation in 2000 stood at $11.3 million and is reported to be building a $15 million house in Florida.

GLOBAL CROSSING—Filed for bankruptcy with $12.4 billion in debt on January 28, 2002. Execs: Chairman Gary Winnick cashed out $734 million in stock since 1998. John Legere, who became CEO in October 2001, got $1.1 million in salary, $3 million in "severance" when he moved from a subsidiary to the parent company, and $3.5 million more in a signing bonus. A total of $15 million in compensation in the months leading up to bankruptcy; $10 million in forgiven loans. CFO Dan Cohrs, still employed, got $7.6 million for stock he sold, and $250,000 incentive pay to stay with the company.

QWEST—Currently $27 billion in debt and the subject of a federal criminal investigation. Execs: CEO Joseph Nacchio, sacked in June, made $217.3 million last year. He sold $248 million in stock during his tenure. CFO Robin Szeliga, removed from that job on July 8 but still executive vice president, got $2.2 million in compensation during 2001.

DYNEGY—SEC is investigating. No civil or criminal charges. Execs: CEO Chuck Watson, who resigned May 2002, got $6.5 million in 2001 and still is Dynegy's largest stockholder. CFO Rob Doty, who resigned June 19, 2002, got $316,856 in salary and $1.3 million in bonuses in 2001—and may still receive $2.7 million in severance.

TYCO—CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski was indicted for allegedly evading New York state sales taxes on $13 million in paintings he bought last fall, as well as for allegedly tampering with evidence involving the paintings. Kozlowski quit in June amid allegations he had Tyco buy him a Manhattan apartment and Florida house. Execs : Kozlowski and CFO Mark Swartz secretly sold $500 million in Tyco stock while claiming publicly that they were holding their Tyco shares. SEC filings show that Kozlowski made a cool $300 million since 1993.

Additional research: Gabrielle Jackson, Cassandra Lewis, Joshua Hersh, Caroline Ragon

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