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Betsy Combier

Help Us to Continue to Help Others »

The E-Accountability Foundation announces the

'A for Accountability' Award

to those who are willing to whistleblow unjust, misleading, or false actions and claims of the politico-educational complex in order to bring about educational reform in favor of children of all races, intellectual ability and economic status. They ask questions that need to be asked, such as "where is the money?" and "Why does it have to be this way?" and they never give up. These people have withstood adversity and have held those who seem not to believe in honesty, integrity and compassion accountable for their actions. The winners of our "A" work to expose wrong-doing not for themselves, but for others - total strangers - for the "Greater Good"of the community and, by their actions, exemplify courage and self-less passion. They are parent advocates. We salute you.

Winners of the "A":

Johnnie Mae Allen
David Possner
Dee Alpert
Joan Klingsberg
Harris Lirtzman
Hipolito Colon
Jim Calantjis
Larry Fisher
The Giraffe Project and Giraffe Heroes' Program
Jimmy Kilpatrick and George Scott
Zach Kopplin
Matthew LaClair
Wangari Maathai
Erich Martel
Steve Orel, in memoriam, Interversity, and The World of Opportunity
Marla Ruzicka, in Memoriam
Nancy Swan
Bob Witanek
Peyton Wolcott
[ More Details » ]
New York Times Editorial Urges Continued Vigilence Over Corporate Corruption
E-Accountability OPINION: The newspaper, after scandals within its' ranks, wants transparency and accountability in the corporate world. We agree. We must not lessen our efforts to stop fraud wherever it occurs. Betsy Combier
Viva Los Regulators


We have seen one corporate chieftain after another, the likes of Bernard Ebbers of WorldCom and John Rigas of Adelphia, doing the perp walk recently through the morass of business scandals. Federal regulators are in striking distance of Maurice Greenberg of the American International Group, an icon of American business. And many shareholders of Enron are licking their lips in anticipation of the trials of its former chief executives, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.

So it's no surprise that these high-profile cases have spawned a backlash from Wall Street about overzealous prosecutors and federal regulations that have run amok. Some defenders of business have even gone so far as to suggest the conviction of Mr. Ebbers shows that America does not need the Sarbanes-Oxley law, passed in 2002 as a response to corporate fraud.

This makes no sense. The very fact that corporate chieftains are falling left and right shows that more needs to be done. These cases are symptoms of endemic business corruption, and this is no time to start talking about backtracking.

Interestingly, much of this talk about overzealous enforcement is brought on by the behavior of big business itself, yet another sign that corporate America still does not get it. Instead of self-policing their accounting practices, many companies appear to be focusing on issues of personal behavior by employees that are of little concern to shareholders or the public. This goes beyond the forced resignation of the chief executive of Boeing, Harry Stonecipher, for having a consensual affair with an employee. Early this year, Bank of America, which has paid nearly $1 billion in fines over the last year for various transgressions, fired a highly regarded bond analyst, Andrew Susser, for his stab at humor in a research report on the casino and lodging industry. On its cover, which carried the title "Checking In," Mr. Susser's face was superimposed over the body of a woman in a cocktail party dress and heels who was being carried over the threshold by a man, as reported by Landon Thomas Jr. in The Times. This is sophomoric behavior, certainly, but not grounds for dismissal; at least it was not back in the days before the business sections of newspapers started reading like rap sheets.

Instead of singling out low- and middle-level executives, big business would better spend its time going after the top-tier people for overstating earnings and sliding expenses around. After paying a $300 million fine to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it overstated advertising revenue, Time Warner did not dismiss the executives, including the chief financial officer, who approved the accounting.

What this shows is not that law enforcement is overzealous, but that upholding the public interest is still too much at the whim of individual officials. The decision by the New York attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, to take on the finance industry was a good thing, but the public should not have to depend on one individual's deciding to take up such a cause.

Still, as long as we are in this pattern, it is a good sign that some of these eager officials are turning their attention from shareholder protection to consumer protection. Minnesota's attorney general recently sued two subsidiaries of the Capital One Financial Corporation, alleging that their supposed "low" and "fixed" interest rates on credit cards are actually neither. The suit alleges that for many consumers, the rates went up - as high as 25.9 percent - if they were just a day late in paying their bills.

That kind of action is what the American middle class - on whose shoulders rests so much of the world economy - needs.

US Senate Starts To Turn Away From Accountability and Corruption, Unlike the Rest of the World
Could it be that the very same big corporation leaders who have corrupted the system are telling our Congress to lay off?

The Privatization of Public Schools May Make Transparency Impossible, Due to the Changing of Corporate Legal Practices: Is this a driving force or unintended consequence?

Questions Are Raised About Thomas J. Donohue and His Accountability For Corporate Practices at Four Private Companies

Restore the Trust

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

Corruption in the Education Sector

© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation