Is apparently to make it impossible to prosecute:
Frustrated with laws and regulations that have made companies and accounting firms more open to lawsuits from investors and the government, corporate America — with the encouragement of the Bush administration — is preparing to fight back.
Now that corruption cases like Enron and WorldCom are falling out of the news, two influential industry groups with close ties to administration officials are hoping to swing the regulatory pendulum in the opposite direction. The groups are drafting proposals to provide broad new protections to corporations and accounting firms from criminal cases brought by federal and state prosecutors as well as a stronger shield against civil lawsuits from investors.
Although the details are still being worked out, the groups’ proposals aim to limit the liability of accounting firms for the work they do on behalf of clients, to force prosecutors to target individual wrongdoers rather than entire companies, and to scale back shareholder lawsuits.
Under these new proposals, Arthur Andersen and Enron would not be liable- just Skilling and Lay. I see how that would solve the problem (/sarcasm), although it does make lots of sense. Now that most Americans invest in the stock market, it seems like a pretty good time to pull the rug out from under us and remove protections for redress when they screw us. After all, accountability is not a strong point for the past few years. And don’t worry, CEO’s- a plan is being crafted even if the Republicans lose the House:
To alleviate concerns that the new Congress may not adopt the proposals — regardless of which party holds power in the legislative branch next year — many are being tailored so that they could be adopted through rulemaking by the S.E.C. and enforcement policy changes at the Justice Department.
Then the Justice Department, without these obligations, can focus on issues that really matter to Republicans. Like porn.