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A Friend In Deed


Today’s eWeek column is about the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision on Arthur Andersen and former Securities and Exchange Chairman William Donaldson.
Basically, the court said that the jury that found Andersen guilty of obstruction of justice should have been told to decide if a crime had been committed. This has bearing on Silicon Valley banker Frank Quattrone’s case, of course. Quattrone’s appeal of his conviction for obstruction of justice is pending and the judge in his case issued similar orders to the jury that found him guilty of that charge and two counts of witness tampering last year.
But the Andersen decision is only a small part of this week’s run of good-ish news for business folks. Donaldson’s departure from the Securities and Exchange Commission and President Bush’s appointment of California Republican Chris Cox to succeed him, is probably a sign that enforcement of the much despised Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is going to be administered with a lighter hand.
Bush might not be getting anywhere in the U.S. Senate, his Social Security reform ideas appear dead in the water and his foreign policy agenda is tottering but hey, he’s still a pro-business Republican. So he’s sent Cox – who can count doing away with estate taxes, reducing capital gains and that Silicon Valley favorite, securities litigation “reform,” as a few of his political accomplishments – to work at the SEC. Cox is a big friend of Silicon Valley’s because of securities reform which makes it a little bit harder to sue corporate directors. That’s probably not the main reason Bush appointed him, but it’s certainly going to help the Republican pick up a few more friends in the tech world.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 7:33 AM | Permalink

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