We've said it before, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, we'll say it one more time: How you feel about Sarbanes-Oxley depends on who you are. Nowhere has this become more apparent than in the media coverage following this year's elections.
Politicians from President Bush to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have voiced concerns that the rigid corporate accounting requirements are raising the cost of business in the U.S. and forcing companies to remain private or list in other countries with fewer regulations. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson also agree that changes are necessary.
On the other side of the fence, however, are people like New York's current attorney general (and governor-elect) Eliot Spitzer. Having made a name for himself by "cracking down" on Wall Street criminals in the Enron era, he says that a complete rollback of Sarbanes-Oxley would be counterproductive -- especially given that many of the companies complaining now are the very ones that had questionable accounting practices to begin with.
Spitzer is not alone in his fight. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-N.Y., who will serve as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has already said he doesn't see the need for extensive changes, and a former member of the federal Enron task force has also made his opinion known.