Friday, January 24, 2003

As former President Clinton pokes fun at the administration's proposed tax cuts, Senator Clinton decries the nation's homeland security as a "myth."

According to this report in Forbes, the SEC adopted a rule yesterday requiring mutual fund managers to disclose how they cast proxy votes on behalf of their investors. The Commission also voted to require lawyers to report suspected securities fraud at a company to top executives or directors, but not to the SEC itself. Instead, it solicited comments on an alternative plan that would require the company to promptly tell the SEC if a lawyer had withdrawn and why.

As reported by Wired News, the Senate voted yesterday to block funding for a Pentagon computer surveillance project that would scour civilian databases for terrorist threats.

By a voice vote, the Senate voted to ban funding for the Total Information Awareness program, under former national security adviser John Poindexter, until the Pentagon explains the program and assesses its impact on civil liberties.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

According to this Reuters story in USA Today, the SEC voted 5-0 today to bar corporate auditors from providing a long list of non-audit services to their audit clients. The bar is designed to avoid conflicts of interest. The rules, which were mandated by Congress under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed last summer, apply to such services as computer information systems design, bookkeeping, management, brokerage, and legal services.The SEC commissioners also voted to require corporate audit committees to oversee the provision of any permissible non-audit services to audit clients by auditors. The rules also will require auditors to disclose more information about their work to investors and audit committees and to switch audit clients every few years.

This story in the Austin American Statesman reports that the SEC, ordered by Congress to make accountants more independent from the companies they audit, is easing an earlier proposal in the face of opposition from corporate issuers and the accounting industry. The story also reports that SEC commissioners are reconsidering a proposal to require company lawyers to resign and inform the SEC when they suspect fraud by a client and cannot persuade company officials to stop the fraudulent conduct.

As reported in this story by IT World, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday ordered Verizon Internet Services Inc. to turn over the name of an individual music downloader to the Recording Industry Association of America Inc. (RIAA). According to the story, Verizon had refused to comply with a subpoena asking for the name of the downloader, who had used a peer-to-peer service. This story in Wired News reports some of the "printable reactions" to the RIAA's reported intent to hold Internet Service Providers accountable for money the music industry has lost due to file-swapping services.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

William Safire holds forth in yesterday's NYT on "media giantism." And here's a link to a piece by Paul Krugman in today's NYT on "class warfare."

Monday, January 20, 2003

In this joint letter to the ABA's Task Force on the Model Definition of the Practice of Law, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission ask the ABA to substantially narrow or reject the Task Force's proposed Model Definition, arguing that it is overbroad and if adopted likely would raise costs for consumers and limit their competitive choices for services currently performed by nonlawyers.

Mickey speaks out on Eldred.

Here is a link to an SEC Press Release on the new rules adopted last week implementing provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

The January 2003 issue of the Harvard Law Review contains Herbert Hovenkamp's review of the second edition of Richard Posner's book Antitrust Law. An abstract of the book review appears here.

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