Former Republican Congressman Jim Greenwood spoke about corporate scandals and biotechnology with 40 members of a professional co-ed business fraternity Wednesday night in the Marvin Center
Greenwood chaired the House subcommittee that investigated the scandals that rocked Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom and ImClone. He said those corporate leaders had too much incentive to inflate profits because the value of their stock options would shrink if they failed to beat Wall Street expectations. He said America’s system of free enterprise works best when stock prices are based on truthful information.
“Book cooking dumbs down the system,” Greenwood said.
As a self-described “old-fashioned real Republican,” the moderate Greenwood said he had an opportunity to shape policy because of his ideology.
“It was difficult and exhilarating. A group of us could stop things,” he said.
Greenwood recounted a time when he organized fellow Republicans to help him defeat an amendment that would force teens to obtain parental permission before seeking family planning advice. He said he had the group withhold its votes on a different bill that needed full Republican support until he could get then-House Majority Leader Tom Delay to consider Greenwood’s opposing amendment on parental consent. Greenwood said Delay relented as the clock ticked down on the vote.
When Delay asked him if there was anything else he wanted, Greenwood replied, “Yeah. Tell me I’m pretty.”
Greenwood left Congress in 2004 to become president of BIO, a biotechnology trade organization. He touted biotechnology’s potential role in curing disease, easing world hunger and producing alternatives to oil-based products.
The former congressman told students in Delta Sigma Pi that biotechnology will allow doctors to determine what diseases a newborn might have in the future.
He said, “When your children are born they will probably have a genome chip or card when you leave the hospital.”