(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In response to President Bush's speech on corporate responsibility, Sen. Patty Murray released the following statement.
"With a crisis of confidence in American corporate accounting, the President's remarks on corporate responsibility were long overdue. But while President Bush spoke sympathetically about the thousands of workers who have been hurt, his reform proposals alone will not restore faith and accountability.
We obviously need to be tough on corporate executives who break the law. The SEC and the Justice Department would be derelict in their duty if they did not enforce the laws on the books.
I am pleased that President Bush endorsed parts of a bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee that would provide new tools to crack down on corporate fraud and abuse.
But prosecuting criminal behavior is not sufficient to prevent future abuses that destroy jobs and worker savings. It is fine to punish executives after the fact, but that won't help workers regain their jobs and retirement savings.
We must pass an accounting and corporate reform bill that has teeth, but on this count, the President's leadership falls short.
To truly take on corporate fraud, two things are necessary: a strong independent oversight board to audit the auditors, and real restrictions on auditor conflict of interest. Absent those two provisions, real reform won't happen.
The accounting reform bill being debated in the Senate will restore faith in our free market system. I hope that the President will embrace the Senate proposal and support real reform."