Future House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., seemed to say recently that a Democrat-controlled Congress wouldn't be in a hurry to move on Sarbanes-Oxley reform because the Securities and Exchange Commission has it under control.
That's not the impression that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gives. The International Herald Tribune says the future House Speaker has identified reforming the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as one of her priorities for the next session of Congress. Since the corporate reform law's co-authors are retiring, the timing is right. And it looks like she'll have plenty of help -- from both political parties.
New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer supports reform. He is concerned not only about the high cost of compliance but also that Sarbox is discouraging public companies from listing with U.S. stock exchanges.
Top names from the Bush administration have also voiced their support for Sarbox reform, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. At AMR Research's Executive Leadership Conference, where he gave the keynote address, Greenspan called section 404 of the Act -- the internal controls provision -- "a nightmare" and said the Act's quick and almost unanimous approval in both the Senate and the House in 2002 should have tipped people off to a problem.
In other words, legislators were in such a hurry to prevent another Enron scandal that many may not have even read the bill before voting on it. We hope their successors won't make the same mistake with whatever changes come down the pike.