Businessmen Make Boo-Boos

Although the Enron scandal should be a catalyst for companies to reform unethical practices, it’s business as usual for corporate America. Writing in Multinational Monitor, Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman argue that there’s not enough will power on both the business and government side to make reforms to protect shareholders from unethical practices within companies.

Though President Bush recently announced a 10-point plan that would help “improve corporate responsibility,” an analysis of the proposal reveals that there isn’t anything within the plan that the federal government doesn’t already have the authority to do. Even one of Bush’s toughest ideas — that CEOs who abuse their power should lose their right to serve in corporate leadership positions — can be done by the Securities and Exchange Commission right now, according to Mokhiber and Weissman.

They say real reform would occur under a proposal by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who wants to create a Federal Bureau of Audits. Rather than having private firms audit corporations, the proposed agency would assign each corporation a government auditor. Of course, it doesn’t stand a chance at being passed, because Democrats and Republicans are just as marinated in corporate cash and culture as the businessmen, Mokhiber and Weissman argue. After all, why federalize auditing when private accounting firms stand to lose tens of millions of dollars to the federal government?
–Kate Garsombke
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