Washington, DC—A group of pro-consumer organizations (consisting of Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Action, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Consumers Union and the American Association for Justice) will tomorrow issue a joint letter to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, focusing on the positive influence of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in protecting shareholders’ interests. American Association for Justice (AAJ) CEO Jon Haber issued the following statement:
“We are only five years removed from the scandals of WorldCom and Enron that damaged shareholder confidence and sent ripples throughout the economy, yet the SEC is backing away from the very reforms passed after those devastating events. The SEC is charged with safeguarding shareholders’ rights, but recent actions have proven they are clearly siding with corporate interests seeking to evade accountability for negligence.”
The AP (11/14/02) quoted SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins as saying the string of accounting failures at big companies has cost U.S. households nearly $60,000 each on average as some $5 trillion in market value was lost. Commissioner Atkins continued, calling them “spectacular failures” in the wake of the recent resignation of his successor Harvey Pitt due to a crisis of public trust.