Walter Mencken 8 a.m., July 30
How corrupt is Congress? Here's an indication
House, backed overwhelmingly by big money, voted down bill to reform accounting
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a private watchdog group that was actually created by Congress, has been critical of the large accounting firms for accepting information from their corporate clients and blessing it without doing independent inquiries. The accounting board wants certain reforms, such as requiring companies to rotate their auditors. So a bill was introduced into the House, disingenuously called the "Auditor Integrity and Job Protection Act," that would block the watchdog from instituting reforms. On July 8 it passed the house by an overwhelming 321-62. MapLight, the organization that tracks money given to legislators, reports that interests supporting the bill -- particularly accountants, brokerage houses, and biotech companies -- gave House members a whopping 138 times what opponents (consumer groups, labor unions) gave.
Bottom line: Thanks to Congress, you can probably expect more Enrons. Money talks. Why must it nauseate?
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