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Enron collapsed. The Earth is warming up. And GMU’s Mercatus Center says the solution lies in two public policy heroes: supply and demand.

Photographs by Charles Steck

There are plenty of laissez-faire Republicans who’ll tell you that the greenhouse effect is bogus science. But in the Virginia suburbs, there’s a stronghold of anti-regulation zealots who say that heightened ozone concentrations are, in fact, a public good.

The thinking goes like this: The ozone layer protects us from the sun’s rays, fending off sunburns, skin cancer, and the like. But the ozone layer is thinning, so there’s no harm in trying to patch up that protective coating with a little man-made ozone from, say, auto emissions. Sure, ground-level ozone, the key ingredient in smog, has been blamed for everything from kids’ breathing problems to global warming. But there’s no point trying to fight those ill effects if it just means more people, in the end, wind up suffering from sunstroke.

So declared a precursor to the Mercatus Center of George Mason University (GMU) in a 1997 public comment on a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule setting new standards for ambient ozone. “Ozone protects against harmful ultra-violet radiation, and the detrimental health effects of increased UV-B penetration are likely to be greater than the projected health benefits of lowering ozone concentrations,” the center wrote.

As director of the Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Studies Program, Enron Corp. board member Wendy Lee Gramm, wife of Republican Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, channels the resources of her university center toward making arguments such as this. Responsibility for protecting the citizenry lies with individual cities and companies, not the federal government, Gramm says. She calls it deferring to individual “choice” and promoting “the public interest.”

And individual choice, in the Mercatus mind-set, means leaving things like water purification up to the consumer. Last October, Mercatus submitted a carefully calibrated comment to the EPA when it was evaluating the final version of the new, more stringent national standards for arsenic levels in drinking water originally developed under President Bill Clinton.

D.C. residents who already hassle daily with Brita filters to clean micro-organisms such as giardia and cryptosporidium out of our foul-tasting public water supply might find the Mercatus conclusions advocating increased individual action startling.

Not only were the regulations not supported by the data on arsenic, the center asserted, but communities like ours would be better served by efforts that focused on putting new products on the shelves of hardware stores rather than new national rules on the books. “[C]ommunities concerned about elevated arsenic levels in their drinking water can implement controls to reduce those levels, and individual households can install filters at their taps to remove arsenic,” noted the public comment. “Compelling communities to reduce arsenic takes money that could be used to protect against bio-terrorism threats, or to buy better schools, new emergency response equipment, or increased traffic safety.”

The EPA’s March 2001 effort to retract the Clinton-era arsenic rule blew up into the first major political fiasco of George W. Bush’s presidency. Stung by the outrage, the administration this fall opted for the stringent standard that it had inherited.

Score one defeat for Mercatus.

Extreme libertarian views on issues of public policy aren’t hard to find around Washington. The Cato Institute, for example, has been fighting inheritance taxes, social security, and the hand of big government for the past quarter-century. The conservative Heritage Foundation shares many of its positions.

But the Mercatus Center makes for a case study in how anti-regulatory rhetoric gets minted and passed along as political currency in the nation’s capital. At a time when more than 10 different congressional inquiries are deconstructing the partnerships, self-dealing, and conflicts of interest that passed for energy giant Enron’s financial and accounting practices, it’s worth taking a look at the ideology that fueled the company’s rise—and ultimately led to its fall.

This particular strain of thinking, which holds that virtually every federal regulation hurts consumers, lives on in well-funded enclaves such as Mercatus, an oil-money-backed quasi-think-tank, which received $50,000 in donations from Enron over the past six years—as well as $10,000 from former Enron Chief Executive Officer Kenneth L. Lay and his wife, Linda Lay.

On the fourth floor of the GMU School of Law’s 3-year-old white curved building in Arlington, an Enron board member, a former New Zealand cabinet minister, a would-be cultural critic, and an eccentric proponent of a new economics subspecialty continue to work together to promote energy deregulation, utility privatization, and an optimistic assessment of market-based popular culture.

They fund yearly all-expenses-paid retreats for top congressional staffers and arrange catered breakfast lectures for the more junior ones, featuring luminaries from the University of Chicago, GMU, and other market-oriented-economics centers. They promote transparency and accountability in government—although they believe in the “executive privilege” of Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force.

And they conduct magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experiments looking at the brain activity of experimental subjects engaged in “economic thinking”—yet still manage to be taken seriously.

The center, which gained its current name in 1998, wouldn’t exist without $16 million in grants from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, one of the largest funders of conservative causes in the country. Last year, Koch dollars made up 37 percent of Mercatus’ $5.3 million budget, despite incoming monies from nearly 6,000 other contributors.

Certainly the Koch (pronounced “Koke”) Foundation, backed by money from oil conglomerate Koch Industries Inc., has good reason to fight the feds. In early 2000, the Department of Justice and the EPA levied a $30 million fine against Koch Industries for causing more than 300 oil spills in six states—the largest civil penalty ever secured under federal environmental laws. A further 97-count indictment against Koch Industries and Koch Petroleum Group LP for violating the Clean Air Act and hazardous-waste laws, filed in 2000, was settled last year with a $20 million assessment and an admission by the company that it had vented benzene, a carcinogen, directly into the air at its Corpus Christi, Texas, plant. Koch Petroleum Group also received a five-year probation term.

Gramm’s promotion of the Koch companies’ line at Mercatus earned her January’s “Villain of the Month” status from the Clean Air Trust, a group founded by two former senators to promote the Clean Air Act. Mercatus, under Gramm, has called for reassessment of 44 federal regulations.

Bankrolled by convicted polluters and singed by their association with the energy scandal, Mercatus Center staffers nonetheless say they have no plans to alter their lobbying and research efforts—or re-examine their ideology—in the wake of the Enron fiasco’s damning indictment of a regulation-lite economy.

“My perspective on regulation was really cooked in the ’80s, when I was in government. It really hasn’t changed that much,” says the 57-year-old Gramm, an Enron board member since 1993, in her only public interview since the scandal broke. Gramm remains one of only two scandal-era Audit and Compliance Committee members on the Enron board. All told, seven directors announced resignations in February.

Gramm’s crusade against government regulation wends through a hodgepodge of institutions. She left her post as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in January 1993, two years before her term was set to end. She joined the Enron board five weeks later. It was a classic revolving-door segue, because one of Gramm’s last acts at the CFTC was to champion an Enron-friendly draft regulation exempting the burgeoning energy-derivatives swaps market from regulation. Energy derivatives, long-term contracts of a sort that operate like insurance against future fluctuations in energy prices, went on to become Enron’s biggest product. (The exemption was eventually adopted by Gramm’s successor at the CFTC).

Gramm argued for the exemption using phrases she still trots out in conversation. “At CFTC, all the things that you learned and tried to do, you got a chance to try out,” says Gramm.

“It’s like we’re overseeing a great garden that produces lots of fruits and vegetables and is very productive for the American economy. But we also have to watch out for the weeds,” says Gramm. “You have to be careful especially when dealing with innovative new products in innovative ways. If we pull up everything green because we think it might become a weed, then pretty soon we won’t have a garden left.”

For a number of years after leaving the CFTC, Gramm, a former Texas A&M University economics professor with a specialty in labor economics, worked out of her home, organizing a series of brown-bag lunches on economic topics that brought together a mix of government officials and academics. And she began a lucrative new career in corporate and organizational governance.

Her unabashedly pro-industry views and energy-sector expertise yielded spots on the boards of companies often frustrated by the government’s regulatory reach. In addition to Enron, she joined the boards of directors of Longitude, a derivatives trading firm; Invesco Funds, a mutual-fund company; IBP Inc., a meat-processing company; and State Farm Insurance Cos. (Gramm resigned from the Invesco board earlier this year following a campaign by the AFL-CIO to force Enron directors from their other corporate oversight positions. Her tenure at IBP was previously marred by revelations that the Phil Gramm for President campaign had arranged buses to pick up IBP employees in three states to take them to vote in the Republican Party’s Iowa straw poll in 1996.)

Gramm went on collecting conservative credentials like war medals. During the ’90s, she sat on the boards of the Ronald Reagan Alumni Association, the International Republican Institute, and the Independent Women’s Forum, where she worked with Lynne Cheney and other prominent female conservatives.

By 1995, Gramm was looking for a workplace to call home. She made some overtures to the University of Texas about setting up a regulatory study center there, but soon realized that any effort to affect policy or be taken seriously in Washington would have to be based closer to the center of power. “It was just too hard to do it from afar,” she says.

She set up an advisory board—stocked with academics she calls “friends of Wendy who have become deans”—and approached Robert Tollison, then the general director of the Center for the Study of Public Choice at GMU and now a professor of economics at the University of Mississippi, about creating a center at GMU. He was an old colleague from the Federal Trade Commission, where they had worked together in the early ’80s. “I said, ‘I want to do this,’” recounts Gramm. “He said, ‘Fine.’ And that’s where I started it and because we were really very policy oriented….We decided a better place would be at [GMU’s] Center for Market Processes.”

She joined the organization in 1997, just as the Center for Market Processes was becoming the Mercatus Center. Now she uses her perch to encourage other academics to adopt her perspectives, through the Regulatory Studies Program. “A lot of times, academics don’t know exactly which issue to write a paper on,” says Gramm. “We want to get them hooked on the issues we care about.”

That those issues happen to coincide neatly with the perspectives of industry certainly doesn’t hurt Mercatus’ fundraising. Kenneth Lay, a longtime friend and backer of Sen. Phil Gramm, contributed sums of $5,000 to Mercatus in 1998 and 2000. And former Enron Energy Services director Lou L. Pai contributed an amount “under $10,000,” according to Mercatus public affairs director Laura Hill. Their names are still prominently listed as donors on two silver-toned plaques at the entrance to Mercatus’ suite at the law school.

Lay and Pai donated over several years, making the “Liberty Circle” of funders, the plaques proudly note. When asked whether Lay’s involvement in the recent Enron scandal would trigger his removal from the Liberty Circle, Hill responds, “Why would we do that?”

Mercatus benefactor Charles G. Koch helped create the libertarian Cato Institute in 1977, and his brother, David Koch, was the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate in 1980. The overlap between the Koch-funded organizations is so apparent that some GMU staffers jokingly call the Mercatus Center the “Mercato Institute.” Susan Dudley, the 46-year-old deputy director of the Regulatory Studies Program, even writes a three-page update for the Cato quarterly journal, Regulation.

Tom Firey, managing editor of Regulation, first proposed the relationship last year and, he says, has been very pleased with Dudley’s work. But Mercatus occasionally goes a bit overboard on the anti-regulation language for even the Cato crowd, says Firey. “The material that they send to us, they try to tone down,” he says. “Cato is more of a public policy research organization. We may be a little more academic than they are.”

But Mercatus’ disdain for the Federal Register is its stock in trade among corporate philanthropists. In addition to the Koch grants, Mercatus received $100,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation, run by archconservative former American Spectator financier Richard Mellon Scaife, along with tens of thousands of dollars from the conservative Philip M. McKenna Foundation.

After the first Koch bequest, in 1997, big corporations and trade associations also started ponying up thousands. Along with Enron, the American Petroleum Institute and Phillip Morris Cos. each threw in more than $10,000. The Electric Power Supply Co. and the Business Roundtable gave enough to join the Liberty Circle.

“Companies see university vehicles as a way to get messages out. It gives an aura of objectivity that’s very valuable to them,” notes Jennifer Washburn, a New America Foundation fellow who is writing a book on private funding of university research efforts.

A recent donation of $3 million from Koch—part of its $16 million total contribution—paved the way for GMU to hire Vernon L. Smith from the University of Arizona. Though Smith, a mustachioed 75-year-old with a long yellowish-white ponytail and three silver rings on each hand, looks as if he’d just gotten off the Greyhound from Sedona, he is widely considered to be the father of experimental economics and a possible Nobel Prize candidate. He arrived at GMU with six colleagues in tow to found the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science (ICES), which is affiliated with Mercatus but housed in a different building.

Smith’s expensive brand of hands-on research invokes medicine and psychology, along with economics, requiring a continued influx of donations.

“People offer you financial support, and within reason you tend to accept it,” says Maurice P. McTigue, a former member of the New Zealand parliament, who is now director of Mercatus’ Government Accountability Program.

Economist Tyler Cowen, the Mercatus Center’s director, has just given a talk to his peers on his theories about why people make irrational choices in the political marketplace as well as the commercial one. It didn’t go over very well, he says. His colleagues in the GMU Department of Economics are among some of the staunchest proponents of rational-choice theory in the nation, outside of the University of Chicago, where the philosophy originated. Rational-choice theory posits that people make clearheaded decisions based on their self-interest, requiring little government oversight. But “the rational-choice model doesn’t account well for self-deception,” says Cowen. “People are irrational and impulsive in many ways.” And their self-interest and their best interest don’t always coincide.

It seems fitting that Cowen would be the one to argue for a deeper appreciation of the role of unpredictable emotions in human economic and political behavior. Cowen is a bit of an odd bird at Mercatus. Whereas most of the other scholars come from powerful policy backgrounds or work on abstruse economic questions, Cowen has been slowly sliding into the humanities with his research and teaching. This semester, he’s teaching a small seminar on law and literature, featuring readings from Greek tragedy and Shakespeare. Ferociously intelligent, with slightly greasy brown hair combed forward over a bald spot and all the grace of an overzealous, socially awkward teenager, the 40-year-old polymath plays nonpartisan idealist to Gramm and Dudley’s more tendentious roles.

“I don’t think of us as a think tank,” says Cowen. “We’re part of a university. A think tank has a position. Mercatus positions are universal.”

Cowen’s own career has taken him far afield from the kind of economics he wrote about after earning his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1987. His first book, 1988’s The Theory of Market Failure: A Critical Examination, was a fairly straightforward analysis of phenomena, such as health care, where values and forces other than market ones have to be taken into account for society to achieve morally decent ends. It bears little resemblance to his current work in progress, Creative Destruction: How Globalization Is Reshaping the World’s Cultures, forthcoming from Princeton University Press, or to 1998’s provocative valentine to pop culture and contemporary art, In Praise of Commercial Culture, published by Harvard University Press to positive reviews.

Cowen differs as well with the right-wing consensus on the cultural impact of racy prime-time TV, the Internet, and other pop media: “The culture of modernity is fundamentally healthy, and we should be optimistic about our culture,” he says.

Cowen, who is nonetheless a free-market proponent, has advised more than 20 graduate dissertations over the past decade. And Mercatus graduate research assistantships have fueled the careers of more than 100 students, 42 of whom have earned Ph.D.s. After receiving a thorough education in market-oriented solutions to public policy problems, Mercatus GMU alumni scatter throughout academia, business, policy institutes, and government.

* Wayne T. Brough, class of 1987, works at the Koch-funded Citizens for a Sound Economy, where he is chief economist. There, he advocates for a flat tax, insurance deregulation, and increased competition in the energy and technology sectors.

* Kurt A. Schuler, class of 1992, works as an economist for the committee staff of Rep. Jim Saxton, Republican of New Jersey and chair of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. Most recently, Schuler has been working to reform the alternative minimum tax, an initiative widely supported by large corporations.

* Ralph A. Rector, class of 1994, went to the Heritage Foundation as a research fellow. He directs the organization’s research and development program and focuses on tax policy. Earlier, he did a stint with the Tax Policy Economics Group at accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand L.L.P.

* Chris R. Edwards, class of 1992, is director of fiscal policy studies at the Cato Institute. He previously worked as a senior economist on the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, as a tax consultant and manager at accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, and as an economist with the Tax Foundation, an educational group born of business opposition to taxes.

* Wayne A. Leighton, class of 1996, is an economist with the Federal Communications Commission and was a senior economist with the U.S. Senate Banking Committee until November 2000. He occasionally writes policy primers for the Cato Institute.

Mercatus, though, isn’t content to influence the Hill indirectly. The center’s Capitol Hill “campus” conducts catered breakfast and lunch-hour seminars in the Rayburn House Office Building for invitation-only audiences of congressional staffers. The program is run in Virginia and holds events in a conference room on the ground floor of the Rayburn Building.

On Feb. 11, Richard A. Epstein, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, comes to the campus to speak on “Putting Change Into Perspective: How Will Reactions to September 11 Change America?”

Epstein, a Mercatus favorite, is one of the most prominent conservative legal scholars in the country. A pioneer in his field, Epstein seeks to apply rational-actor economic theory to the law. This is his fourth time talking at a Mercatus event.

Epstein is a force of nature and surprisingly amusing in a fast-talking, wisecracking, you-are-not-going-to-get-a-word-in-edgewise kind of way. His lecture focuses on how the government can maintain its legitimacy by not overstepping its bounds in an environment that calls for beefed-up security. The audience of 40-plus people, nibbling on libertarian eggs and bacon, pays close attention.

Questions from the crowd, though, reveal more about the milieu than does the speaker’s address. “I have a legitimacy-of-response question,” says one congressional staffer. “If al Qaeda had five suitcase bombs and two went off, would it then be appropriate to bomb Mecca?”

“Why would you want to bomb Mecca if the appropriate target is Baghdad? Or Tehran? Or North Korea?” asks Epstein in reply. It’s the kind of debate that, within an academic environment, would be understood as a purely hypothetical way of getting at a broader question of equity and logic. Within the halls of Congress, however, it sounds shocking.

The Capitol Hill campus of Mercatus also holds annual retreats for senior congressional staffers, with free-market-oriented lectures from in-house economists, dinners with the likes of management guru Tom Peters, and presentations from scholars such as Francis Fukuyama, formerly of GMU and now with the School of Applied International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and author of The End of History and the Last Man.

Richard Boykin, chief of staff to Rep. Danny K. Davis, Democrat of Illinois, has attended the last three retreats, including January’s at the Williamsburg Lodge in Colonial Williamsburg, Va. He’s been grateful to learn about the role supply and demand play in social problems, he says, such as the market for illegal drugs. “They give out certificates, so people can feel like you go to classes and you learn. The teachers are from George Mason, from University of Chicago. These are actual instructors,” he says. “It’s an outstanding institution.”

If Boykin has any critiques of the all-expenses-paid retreats to posh Virginia resorts, they center around the Mercatus perspective that comes with the weekend in the country. “Mercatus tends to be a little right. Let’s just say it for what it is. I’m a little bit more balanced, a little bit toward the left. But I’m one of those Democrats who likes to understand there’s two sides to every coin,” says Boykin. Still, he’s quick to add: “I wouldn’t say that I subscribe to their philosophy.

“I’ve encouraged them,” Boykin continues. “I said I think they need to get more balanced speakers, get some folks in there who are Democrats. They had a couple of Democrats at the last retreat—but I guess they were Reagan Democrats.”

In the mid-’80s, New Zealand was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, its highly regulated, centrally controlled economy a disaster of socialist economics. But by the early ’90s, a free-market reform movement was pushing through a series of policy changes intent on transforming the nation’s governance and market policies. In its quest for economic vitality, the tiny island country became a guinea pig for neoclassical economists from around the globe. McTigue was then a cabinet minister responsible for privatizing New Zealand’s railroads, now owned by the American company Wisconsin Central, and later took on cabinet posts reforming the labor, transportation, and education sectors.

Today, McTigue, 61, is at the Mercatus Center, trying to apply the lessons of New Zealand’s successful program of economic liberalization to the United States. It’s a strange test case: The United States is already one of the world’s least regulated markets and a nation that, until recent months, had one of the most dynamic economies in the world. And McTigue is working again with Smith, whom he first met in New Zealand during the early ’90s.

One way McTigue’s Government Accountability Program (GAP) proposes to aid Americans is by zeroing out government programs that can’t show public benefits. “If you can demonstrate that something isn’t working, that makes it hard to continue to fund,” he says.

GAP is also a major proponent of transparency in government, and for the past two years it has released ranked scorecards indicating how good federal agencies have been at informing the public of their activities. But that focus on transparency doesn’t extend to the executive office itself. “The government should be able to take advice and take that advice confidentially,” says McTigue of Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force, which is being sued by the General Accounting Office for documents relating to participation by Enron in its meetings, as part of a congressional investigation.

The outcome of the battle over White House energy policy is also a preoccupation of Mercatus staffer Vernon L. Smith, a socialist-sympathizer-turned-free-market-devotee. Smith has developed a model for energy pricing that would allow consumers to choose to have power interrupted or to be charged more for energy use during peak hours, just like long distance calls, for which rates go up during business hours. Such a system would encourage people to use energy during off-peak hours, Smith explains, thereby reducing the prices for everyone and freeing up extra capacity during the day.

“If your objective is to create efficient markets, it’s very environmentally friendly to stop subsidizing people on peaks and taxing people off peaks,” says Smith. “The idea is to get efficient markets. Everyone pays the cost that he imposes on everyone else.”

Smith developed the plan on the basis of behavioral laboratory experiments conducted at ICES and the University of Arizona. It’s a fairly new way for economists to evaluate human behavior. Sometimes ICES uses MRI machines to scan the brain functions of human volunteers engaged in economic game-playing to learn more about the neural processes behind economic activity.

“In our daily lives, we are always involved in social exchanges. You have me to dinner and a few days later I have you to dinner,” says Smith. “We’re all into this reciprocity, even chimps and capuchin monkeys.” Eventually, it all links up with “the study of extant hunter-gatherer groups who have social exchanges for sharing meat.”

The idea is to learn how to allocate goods most efficiently and achieve the holy grail—the Platonic form of a perfectly functioning market.

In a worldview that prizes such a search, the collapse of Enron can been seen as the outcome of a functional market. “Companies are born, they prosper, and they die,” says McTigue. “It’s a natural part of the market process, and you can’t stop it from happening.”

Most companies over the past century have failed. That’s what they do over time, he argues, and investors shouldn’t find it surprising. “Investors are taking a risk,” says McTigue. “Every now and then that risk will be fulfilled. There’s nothing wrong with that process.”

Still, concedes McTigue, perhaps some “more stringent regulations on the trusteeship of retirement accounts” might be needed “to protect the innocent,” such as the thousands of former Enron employees whose retirement savings accounts are now worth as little as the company’s stock. Better accounting standards and fuller corporate disclosure might not be such bad ideas, either, he notes.

Despite her role in the oversight of Enron, Gramm’s colleagues unsurprisingly say they see her as a bit of a victim, duped by fraudulent activities she never knew about.

Experts in corporate governance have pointed to Enron’s contributions to Mercatus as creating a conflict of interest that may have prevented Gramm from fulfilling her oversight role of the company with as much zeal as she might otherwise have. How could she be independent if, in addition to gifts of stock and direct compensation for sitting on the board, her job—at the organization she helped create—was partly funded by a company she was supposed to oversee? How could she be independent if her husband’s career was bound up with that of the leader of the company she was monitoring?

Lay, after all, was not only a donor to Mercatus and to Gramm’s husband, but the regional chair of the Gramm for President Campaign in 1996. Sen. Gramm received $97,350 in support from Enron since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Powers Report on Enron’s collapse, written by University of Texas School of Law Dean and short-term Enron board member William C. Powers Jr., found little evidence of close oversight. According to the report, the Enron audit committee on which Gramm sat spent as little as 10 to 15 minutes per meeting discussing Enron’s complex—and ultimately fatal—partnerships.

But a look at Gramm’s career suggests that an influence more pernicious than money may have been at the heart of the problem. Wendy Gramm was, like the company’s executives, a true believer in laissez-faire economics and deregulation. In 1987, the New York Times described her as “one of the Reagan administration’s most vigorous deregulators.”

So if Gramm was duped, some of the blame must lie with her own faith in the market’s ability to self-regulate.

That belief has yielded some spectacular wreckage in the Gramm family: Amalgamated Bank of New York is suing Enron and its executives and directors, including Wendy Gramm, for $25 billion. Her husband’s colleagues on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in January subpoenaed records of her relationship with Enron. Sen. Gramm announced his retirement Sept. 5, in a move that some speculated was provoked by early knowledge of the coming scandal. (He has denied any connection.) Once mentioned as a possible Treasury secretary, Sen. Gramm is now most likely heading back to Texas. Wendy Gramm is planning to leave the Mercatus Center at the end of his term in January 2003. She has dropped her positions on most of the nonprofit boards she once sat on and has resigned from several corporate directorships. Slowly, she’s trying to transition out of public life—and Washington.

“I don’t think we’re looking at anything in town,” says Gramm. CP

Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Photographs by Charles Steck.