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Republicans Voted Against criminal penalties for CEOs, tougher corporate regulations, executive accountability, greater auditing safeguards, and stronger protections for employee pensions. Now we see the results.



How Republican Greed Sank the Economy
July 12, 2002 thepeoplesvoice.org

Posted by the EDITOR

It is no accident that the current wave of costly corporate scandals followed the rise of modern conservatism to political power two decades ago. Ronald Reagan governed while denigrating government as "the problem, not the solution." He starved agencies of resources and placed committed ideological opponents in charge of them. Reagan's Commerce Department drew up a hit list of regulations resented by business ("the Terrible 20"). And of course Reagan signed the law that deregulated the savings and loans associations, while his appointee revoked requirements that any S&L have 400 shareholders. The resulting infamies cost taxpayers many billions.

"Regulatory agencies have run amok and need to be reformed," said Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority whip, as he invited business lobbyists to detail the regulations they wanted gutted. A centerpiece of Gingrich's Contract With America was "securities reform." Passed in 1995 over President Clinton's veto, the bill shielded outside accountants and law firms from liability for false corporate reporting, and made it more difficult for shareholders to bring suit against fraudulent reporting. A flood of corporate misstatements has followed, with nearly 1,000 companies restating misleading reports in the past five years including Enron and WorldCom,

Then there were the compromised auditors of Enron and WorldCom, paid lucrative consulting fees from the companies they audited. In the 1990s, Clinton's SEC chairman, Arthur Levitt, waged a long and bitter campaign to ban this basic conflict of interest. The accountants' lobby -- led by one Harvey Pitt -- blocked the reforms, with Republicans Billy Tauzin in the House and Phil Gramm, threatening to gut the SEC's budget if Levitt went forward.

On July 9, 2002, President Bush went to Wall Street to call for several specific reforms in response to the recent corporate responsibility scandals. However, many of his plans have already been proposed by Democrats in Congress - and shot down by Bush's fellow Republicans. The following is a list of reforms that the House Republicans have already rejected.

214 Republicans Voted Against Criminal Penalties for CEOs Who Falsify Financial Reports. In April 2002, 214 Republicans voted against a Democratic substitute amendment to the Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act of 2002 that would impose tougher regulations on corporations than the Republican bill. The amendment would have imposed criminal penalties on CEOs who falsify financial reports. The amendment failed 202 to 219. [HR 3763, vote #108, 4/24/02; R 1-214; D 200-4; Gannett News Service, 4/24/02]

218 Republicans Voted Again Against Tougher Corporate Regulations and Executive Accountability. In April 2002, 218 Republicans voted against a Democratic motion to recommit the Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act of 2002 that would have included in the bill language similar to the Democratic substitute, adding public regulator and executive accountability provisions, including criminal penalties for false certification of financial statements. The motion failed 205 to 222. [HR 3763, vote #109, 4/24/02; R 0-218; D 204-3]

214 Republicans Voted Against Greater Auditing Safeguards. In April 2002, 214 Republicans opposed a Democratic substitute amendment to the Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act that would create a public regulator to oversee auditors. The regulator would have authority to set auditing standards and conduct more thorough investigations. The amendment was rejected, 202-219. [HR 3763, vote #108, 4/24/02; R 1-214; D 200-4]

214 Republicans Voted Against Greater Limits on Analyst Conflicts of Interest. In April 2002, 214 Republicans voted against a Democratic substitute amendment to the Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act of 2002 that would, among other things, seek to curb conflicted investment advice by prohibiting analysts from owning stock in companies they research and barring them from having their pay tied to the revenue of their investment banking firm. The amendment failed 202 to 219. [HR 3763, vote #108, 4/24/02; R 1-214; D 200-4; Gannett News Service, 4/24/02]

214 Republicans Voted Against Executives Certifying Financial Statements. In April 2002, 214 Republicans voted against a Democratic substitute amendment to the Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act of 2002 that would, among other things, replace the executive responsibility provisions in the bill to require executive certification of financial statements. The amendment failed 202 to 219. [HR 3763, vote #108, 4/24/02; R 1-214; D 200-4]

209 Republicans Voted Against Stronger Protections for Employee Pensions. In April 2002, 209 Republicans voted against the Democratic substitute amendment to the Pensions Security Act of 2002 that would have mandated independent investment advice for employees with company stock, required a 30-day notice of any limitation on company stock sales and would have mandated equal representation of employees and employers on pension boards. The amendment failed 187 to 232. [HR 3762, vote #90, 4/11/02; R 1-209; D 185-22]

191 Republicans Voted to Allow Companies to Avoid Paying Federal Taxes. In June 2002, 191 Republicans voted against the Neal (D-MA) motion to recommit the Retirement Savings Security Act of 2002, which would have closed a loophole that allows corporations to locate their headquarters offshore in order to avoid paying federal taxes. The motion failed 186 to 192. [HR 4931, vote #247, 6/21/02; R 2-191; D 183-0] http://www.investorsbillofrights.com/GOPfailed.phtml

Bush Govt May Speed Telecom Deregulation December 19, 2000 By Martin Stone A research evaluation just released indicates that the administration formed by the president-elect, George W. Bush, will speed deregulation of the telecommunications industry, as the Republican government assumes a more hands-off approach to business. The report, by the Dataquest unit of Gartner Group, Inc., said some of the expansion of the telecom industry has been held back by the government's micromanagement and reluctance to encourage free-market dynamics. computeruser.com

Corporate America hit by Biggest Scandal in History June 26, 2002 by Chris Ayres in New York CORPORATE America suffered its biggest scandal to date last night when it was claimed that WorldCom, a telecommunications company founded by a devout Mississippi Christian, had lied about making about $3.85 billion (2.6 billion) of profits over 15 months. The size of the alleged profits overstatement at WorldCom is more than double the previous record, set by the pharmacy chain Rite Aid, and makes the accounting irregularities at Enron Corporation look like a rounding error. WorldCom, already crippled by nearly $30 billion of debt, is now expected to go bust commondreams.org 

 

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