House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued the following statement this evening in response to a press conference held late this afternoon by President Bush in advance of a speech he will give tomorrow in New York on corporate wrongdoing:
"The Presidents statement today on corporate governance was very weak. Clearly, the Administration has decided that it wants to divert attention from the corporate governance issue, which is coming so close to home for it.
At a time when the country needs confidence restored in our markets, and confidence restored in the economy, the President praised a weak Republican bill that came out of the House in April. That bill would give industry the call on how to regulate itself and would be vague in its funding, and vague in its authority.
If the President is serious about corporate accountability, he should come out in support of a strong reform bill proposed in the Senate by Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., which received overwhelming bipartisan support last month in the Senate Banking Committee. The Sarbanes bill would create a strong, independent board to oversee the auditing of public companies, would assure the independence of auditors by prohibiting them from consulting for their auditing clients, and would mandate comprehensive reform to protect investors.
It is time to get serious on the issue of corporate governance. We need to protect the pensions of Americas families, the savings that people have, and their investments for their childrens education and a better future.
As I said yesterday, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt should go. He has been the lobbyist for the accounting industry and is not the person to restore confidence in the stock market."
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