Chamber of Commerce Calls For Changes to SEC Enforcement
By Kara Scannell
The Wall Street Journal
Thursday, March 9, 2006
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, becoming more
vocal in its opposition to increased corporate oversight, is
calling for changes to the Securities and Exchange
Commission's enforcement process.
In a report to be released today, the Chamber makes 15
recommendations to improve SEC enforcement, starting with
the appointment of an advisory committee to study
enforcement processes and policies.
The Chamber's report follows its 2004 court challenge to an
SEC rule that changed corporate governance at mutual funds,
and amid criticism by defense lawyers and lawmakers of what
they perceive to be aggressive enforcement tactics following
the collapse of Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc., now part of
Verizon Communications Inc.
Since then, the SEC's budget and its enforcement staff have
nearly doubled. The agency also has won record fines and
penalties in settlements with companies.
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is the advocate for
millions of businesses of all sizes, undoubtedly has a
valuable perspective on a variety of regulatory issues," SEC
Chairman Chris Cox said in a statement.
"The SEC, which is the investor's advocate, will weigh the
information in this report carefully and incorporate the
facts and opinions it contains into our ongoing efforts to
strengthen the enforcement of our securities laws," he
In addition to calling for an advisory committee, the
Chamber recommends the SEC "take steps to eliminate overlap"
between the SEC and other law enforcement bodies and to
clarify its policy on when a corporation should be fined.
This year, Mr. Cox united a divided commission and adopted
penalty guidelines for the enforcement staff and
commissioners to follow in determining whether a fine
against a corporation is appropriate.
Kara Scannell at