The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made clear that it has no stomach for dealing with corporate and accounting corruption. One must assume that it is getting its marching orders from the Bush administration.

The accounting profession, of which I am an embarrassed member, has used its influence, as it did when then-Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. proposed to separate auditing from consulting, to derail efforts to toughen oversight and enforcement. When did it start making sense to let the fox watch over the chickens? Confidence in U.S. stock markets has been severely damaged by corporate scandals. Congressional Republicans, the president and the vice president are perceived as friends of business. The chutzpah of the SEC [news story, Oct. 26] to appoint William H. Webster, a good man but one with no experience in this area, over the more qualified John H. Biggs to head the Accounting Oversight Board is a clear indication that the Bush administration does not take corporate and accounting malfeasance seriously. On top of that, earlier this year the administration cut funding for SEC enforcement activities.

Chairman Harvey L. Pitt claims to be fiercely independent. I can only say of him and his boss, watch what they do, not what they say. Clearly the good of the American public is not high on the Bush agenda.


Clark Fork, Idaho