Practical Technology

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Sarbanes-Oxley on the ropes or business as usual?

Put away the party hats. Put the champagne glasses down, when SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) rules that part of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), a set of federal laws that spell out the financial disclosure and fiscal responsibilities of a company’s executives was unconstitutional, many people thought SOX was dead, dead, dead!

Ahem. No such luck. Businesses are still stuck with filling out SOX’s endless paperwork. What SCOTUS actually did with SOX was to narrowly rule that Congress overstepped its authority when establishing the PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board), a non-profit corporation that oversees the auditing and enforcement of SOX.

All that really happened, was that SCOTUS ruled that Congress blew it when setting up the board and allowing the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), which appoints the board members, to remove them only “for good cause shown” and not allowing the president the power to directly remove board members.

Bummer right? Many, perhaps most, company executives cordially dislike SOX. They see SOX as being a wasteful and costly government intrusion into business. And, throwing salt into the wound, it doesn’t even do what it was supposed to do.

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