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Peter Fitzgerald's Different Drummer

The senator is hardly what archconservatives expected

When Enron Corp. sent 41 boxes of internal documents up to Capitol Hill in January, dozens of staffers were assigned to comb through the records for newsworthy nuggets. Among the crew was a 41-year-old self-described numbers geek--but Peter Fitzgerald is hardly your average congressional gofer. He is the nation's youngest senator.

The freshman Republican from Illinois, eager to understand Enron's collapse, worked seven days a week sifting through thousands of pages of board minutes and partnership papers. His conclusion: Enron's balance sheet was simply a scam. "I quickly became convinced that there was no economic purpose for the partnerships other than to fictitiously pump up earnings," Fitzgerald says.