We hate deflating a good scandal. Really. We kind of live for them. But we have to admit that Holman Jenkins asks an obvious question about backdating that goes a long way to undermine the idea that it was a shady practice meant to secretly inflate executive compensation:
You also have to ask yourself a simple question: Companies have not been averse to showering large compensation on their executives. Why assume executives would resort to a subterfuge to add a few dollars to the pile when other explanations of backdating are available? At one company, Microsoft, backdating was clearly a codified practice, the starting point for deciding how to apportion stock options to employees. That is, the company was still in control of how much value it was handing over to employees.
Jerk. Now what are we supposed to be outraged about?
Backdating Revisited [Wall Street Journal]