SEC settles Dell fraud case: Execs pay millions

July 26, 2010

Is the SEC on a roll or just looking over its shoulder at salivating securities whistleblowers? On the heels of settling with Goldman Sachs last week for $550 million, the SEC yesterday announced its $111+ million take from settling accounting fraud charges against Dell Computer and several current and former Dell executives including Michael Dell, […]

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SEC-Goldman settlement driven by H.R. 4173?

July 24, 2010

Was it mere coincidence that the SEC suddenly settled with Goldman Sachs for $550 million — a figure widely seen as a fraction of what Goldman should have paid — on the same day, July 15, 2010, that the new SEC whistleblower bounty program finally passed both houses of Congress?

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Dodd-Frank H.R. 4173 now before the Senate

July 15, 2010

The leviathan Dodd-Frank bill, newly renamed the “Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010,” has been taken up by the Senate.  On CSPAN-2, Hawaii Senator Daniel Akaka is now droning on about how “too many investors don’t know the difference between a broker and investment advisor.”  Note well:  Both “Wall Street Reform” and “Consumer Protection” […]

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Dodd-Frank: SEC Whistleblower Facelift

July 8, 2010

Thinking of blowing the whistle on securities fraud?  Thanks to the  Dodd-Frank Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (H.R. 4173), it now makes financial sense to consider it. Securities whistleblowers may not have much company in cheering H.R. 4173 but Section 922 is a major improvement over the largely non-functional anti-retaliation provisions of the old […]

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Michael Mann v. Ken Cuccinelli: Is Academic Freedom a License to Lie?

July 6, 2010

Does “academic freedom” include the right to falsify data in government grant applications? One might think so, to hear Rachel Levinson Waldman, senior counsel for the American Association of University Professors. She (and 810 Virginia professors) have objected to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cucinelli’s civil investigative demand or “CID” (shown below) that the University of […]

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SCOTUS to SEC on PCAOB: “Fire at will!”

June 28, 2010

With today’s SCOTUS decision in Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB, the Public Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) survives but with less swagger and self-importance than before.  This decision holding unconstitutional the “dual for-cause limitation” on the President’s ability to fire PCAOB members leaves the PCAOB’s form intact but downgrades its political independence.

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Supreme Court Rejects Jeff Skilling’s Honest Services Fraud Conviction

June 25, 2010

Business executives everywhere can breath a sigh of relief this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) yesterday struck down former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling’s convictions for so-called “honest services fraud”.  While the SCOTUS decision temporarily leaves intact Skilling’s other convictions, they are now on life-support.

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Utterly Ridiculous: Coast Guard Stops Oil-Sucking Barges for Life Vests

June 18, 2010

You can tell governance in the United States is upside-down when a mere Lt. Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard can force a state’s governor — in this case Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal — to stand down barges saving the state’s coast line from an oil spill.  Not to mention that the spill itself is […]

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Cap and Trade Pork in Senate’s Wall Street Reform Bill

June 1, 2010

Lurking in the Senate version of HR 4173 , the so-called Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, is a juicy chunk of pork for the global warming lobby: the commissioning of a “carbon markets” study to be conducted by an “interagency working group” that includes Chairs of the CFTC, SEC and FERC.  […]

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Fair Tax Would Close Transfer Pricing Loopholes

May 18, 2010

Jesse Drucker, writing this week in Bloomberg Businessweek, tells the fascinating story of “Forest Laboratories’ Globe-Trotting Profits” and bemoans the fact that billions in U.S. income tax are legitimately avoided by corporations like Forest through international transfer pricing strategies. Drucker’s last paragraph is the best: “If multinationals cannot be prevented from shifting profits to low-tax […]

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