Skip to main content

Spooky Public Accounting

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Business Week is reporting that President George Bush recently signed an executive order granting intelligence czar John Negroponte "broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations." Spookier still, he signed the order on the same day that CIA director Porter Goss resigned.
Business Week explains:

Unbeknownst to almost all of Washington and the financial world, Bush and every other President since Jimmy Carter have had the authority to exempt companies working on certain top-secret defense projects from portions of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. Administration officials told BusinessWeek that they believe this is the first time a President has ever delegated the authority to someone outside the Oval Office. It couldn't be immediately determined whether any company has received a waiver under this provision.

Of course that couldn't be determined! If you had the ability to let companies say they were keeping certain things secret in their financial disclosures, would you then force them to admit that they were doing so?
Intelligence Czar Can Waive SEC Rules [BusinessWeekOnline]