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Enron Bankruptcy and The Bush Administration

January 28, 2002

Careful readers of The Times on Jan. 24 must have been thoroughly confused about plans to upgrade the regulation of the accounting profession under the aegis of the Securities and Exchange Commission. ''SEC Chief Pushes Accounting Agenda'' (Business) reported correctly that the SEC opposes any accounting regulatory system that is directly under the control of a profession it is designed to discipline. That is what I said on Jan. 17 at a news conference in Washington, and what I said on Jan. 23 in a speech in San Diego.

Bizarrely, your editorial (''Oblivious to a Strong Smell'') opined that ''the new oversight board would apparently be largely controlled by the industry's American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.'' I can assure you and the investing public that I am well aware of the flaws in our current disclosure and accounting systems and I will be tireless in my efforts to repair them.

Harvey L. Pitt

Chairman

Securities and Exchange

Commission, Washington

*

The Jan. 24 cartoon by Michael Ramirez seems to suggest that President Bush is no more linked to Enron than he is to Kmart.

Doesn't Ramirez realize that six secret (at the time) meetings between Enron officials and Vice President Cheney or his staff shaped current Bush administration energy policy? Doesn't he know that Bush's top economic advisor, Lawrence Lindsey (a former Enron consultant), gave a favorable report to the president on Enron's problems shortly before the damning truth came out? Is he aware that Bush's chairman of the SEC, Harvey Pitt, advocated allowing accounting firms like Andersen to also serve as highly paid consultants to companies like Enron, a blatant conflict of interest that leads to unethical behavior and a whole lot of shredding?

Bennett Tramer

Santa Monica

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