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October 31, 2002

More Corporate Criminals at Bush Admin

First, Harvey Pitt kills the nomination of a real audit watchdog to the new auditing oversight board, because the auditing industry objected. Now it turns out that the new nominee for the head of the auditing board, "Judge" Webster, was at a company where he served on the audit committee which is facing probes for covering up corporate fraud.

The real scandal is that Pitt didn't even bother to ask those at the firm in question, U.S. Technologies, about Webster's role in the corporate fraud scandal. From the NY Times:

Mr. Webster said he was assured by Mr. Pitt that the staff of the commission had looked into the issue and that it would not pose a problem. Mr. Pitt had urged Mr. Webster to take the job.

But U.S. Technologies' former outside accounting firm, other members of the audit committee, company executives, and investors and their lawyers who say they were defrauded say they were never called by anyone at the commission about Mr. Webster's candidacy for the new oversight board.

Pitt should resign. Period.

And if the media does not start crucifying Bush for this collaboration with corporate fraud soon, I'll have to start conceding the partisanship of the media in regard to scandal. This should be front page news across the country.

Posted by Nathan at October 31, 2002 07:18 AM

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I think this is another example of the utter cluelessness of harvey Pitt when it comes to the politics of the post he is holding. Whenever I see him interviewed he seems genuinely surprised that people do not take him at his word when he says that he will be tough on fraud. He seems to believe that his previous work as a lobbyist for the Accounting industry should have no bearing on his present position as the job demands are different. He wants us to believe that as soon as he started wearing the SEC hat he suddenly stopped being a shill for the Accounting industry. But the Webster hiring takes the cake. Even after the pummeling he has received how can he appoint someone with even a whiff of impropreity attatched? He seems completely politically tone deaf! And was he not loaned a political operative from the WH to make sure such obvious gaffes do not happen?

Posted by: Victor at October 31, 2002 12:15 PM

Pitt's in a nice position - his screw-ups just take the SEC's reputation down, and entangles actual reforms.

Meanwhile, he's taking what little heat there is, rather than Bush. With another year or so of screwing-up, things might get too hot for him. Then he resigns, and takes a high-paying post in the private sector. As a reward for obstructing reform, of course.

At point, we'll see a brand-new 'reformer' step in.

Posted by: Barry at November 1, 2002 10:45 AM

I don't think that he's clueless. Notice that his actions: (1) give Bush some cover (perp walks, etc); (2) obstruct reform; (3) keep the heat off of Bush.

Pitt can always resign, in a year or so, when the heat gets too bad. At that time, a new 'reformer' will be appointed, and Pitt goes to a very high-paying job in the private sector.

Posted by: Barry at November 1, 2002 10:47 AM

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