If at first you don't disclose, just restate and restate again

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There were 116 financial restatements in corporate public filings in 1997. Almost ten years later (2006), that number has grown over 15 fold to 1,876. Hank Paulson wants to know why. Paulson has ordered a Treasury study of restatements, their predominant causes, and effect on investors that will be headed by former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt and former SEC chief accountant Donald Nicolaisen.
The main reason restatements are thought to have increased so dramatically in number is because of tougher accounting oversight, and the fact that accounting firms have become increasingly aggressive in the face of so much exposure to litigation. Projected recommendations of the study include reducing the liability of public accountants and diluting the auditing industry so that it isn't as dominated by the same few firms.
A restatement explosion seems an odd justification for a major deregulatory push. This would assume that companies are not using dodgy accounting tricks to mask true performance and that financial restatements are somehow onerous to companies that misstate financials in the first place. One would think that tougher accounting rigor in audits followed by a spike in restatements is a sign that a lot of violations were going unnoticed, not that accouting firms are creating unnecessary restatements through nit-picking.
Treasury Targets Financial Fixes [Wall Street Journal]