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Protecting Business for the Long Term

Tuesday, April 12, 2005; Page A20

Regarding Steven Pearlstein's March 30 and April 6 Business columns, "Chamber Misses Moral of Enron Story" and "Arguing Against Tighter Controls Is Short-Sighted":

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has denounced criminal activity by corporate boards or management, and it always will. But we will not abandon our position that legal principles of fairness must be upheld, even when chief executives are the defendants.

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When trial by public opinion, rather than the courts, is enough to threaten a company's survival, force the layoffs of thousands of workers and impel the "retirement" of company officers, all Americans should be concerned at the erosion of our basic rights.

The chamber supports stronger and more effective internal controls, which is why we agree with Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William H. Donaldson that implementation of some regulations is not yet right. The SEC has scheduled a public roundtable and asked for suggestions. We intend to share our recommendations.

People who start companies, take risks and create businesses have produced an economy that generates a standard of living unsurpassed in the world.

When regulations cause -- even unintentionally -- more problems than they solve, when the costs of those regulations far exceed the benefits and when politicians start making management decisions, our economy and standard of living are at risk.


President and Chief Executive

U.S. Chamber of Commerce


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