Eshoo: What to Do About Leaky Boards?

It’s one thing to avoid going out of your way to avoid criticizing a major player in your constituency.

But Anna Eshoo took an extra step when she showed up at the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations’ hearing on Hewlett-Packard. Eshoo the Palo Alto Democrat, in whose district Hewlett-Packard sits isn’t on the subcommittee, but as a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, she got permission to put her two cents in.

And those were two rather surprising cents: Eshoo became one of the few and perhaps the only politician to stand up for HP.

“The meaning of the words Palo Alto is tall tree, and that’s what HP has been,” Eshoo said, praising the foundations started by HP’s founders and their “countless, countless efforts that have made our region the envy of so many places.”

She went on to make the well-worn point that a Republican-led Congress is investigating HP’s surveillance mess at the same time it is considering the Bush administration’s legally questionable eavesdropping.

And then Eshoo asked her most puzzling question:”Where does a publicly traded company go when they have a board member who doesn’t stop talking,” and who “damages the company” with leaks?

HP, of course, has laid out a map of where not to go. But Eshoo’s question is puzzling because so far, no evidence has come out to show that the leaks by former board member George Keyworth damaged the company. Indeed, the CNet story that supposedly came out of the leaks quoted a confidential source, but did not divulge any substantive information that wasn’t already public.

Justin Scheck

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