Sarbanes-Oxley “Reform”: Do We Still Need Lessons on Foxes and Chicken Coops
One of the things investigative journalists learn very quickly is “follow the money.” And that can mean both a direct trail of funding as well as who stands to benefit from policy changes a particular group is recommending.
Given the naked self-interest of certain large corporations in the watering down of the Sarbanes-Oxley–or at least what they perceive to be their self-interest–it’s not a big surprise that the group advocating to weaken that bill turns out to be funded by the very people who see themselves as benefiting by pulling back the watchdogs.
The Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, which argues that U.S. markets are suffering under overzealous enforcement and unwieldy rules, said it received $500,000 in financial support from the C.V. Starr Foundation. The charity has longstanding ties to Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, the former American International Group chief who was ousted from his post last year and is contesting civil charges filed by the New York attorney general.
Two committee members, Wilbur L. Ross Jr., a private investor, and Citadel Investment Group manager Kenneth C. Griffin, contributed “a few hundred thousand dollars” more, Ross said in an interview. The panel was formed this year with support from Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former chairman of the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs.
The email version (thanks, Nancy Smith, for sending it) connects a few more dots:
report was funded by the Starr Foundation, which is controlled by Former AIG
Insurance chief Maurice Greenberg. Greenberg was forced to resign last year
after then-NY Attorney General Elliot Spitzer revealed major accounting
manipulations and misrepresentations at his insurance company.
The irony is, as I point out repeatedly in my award-winning sixth book, Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, that high standards of ethics are actually good for the business bottom line.