We need Sarbanes-Oxley regulations for Congress

Clarice Feldman
JOM poster JimmyK has suggested the creation of a new law which applies the principles of Sarbanes-Oxley to Congress. After giving this some thought, I am in full agreement, as long as my name appears as a co-sponsor, of course.

To refresh your recollection: in 2002, whipped into a frenzy by perceived  accounting irregularities in public corporations,  Congress passed what is known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act  (Pub.L. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745, enacted July 30, 2002), also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002) to require more stringent accounting and disclosure of corporate activities.

One of the most onerous portions of the Act, which contains both civil and criminal provisions requires, Chief Executive Officers to certify the accuracy of financial statements. Critics note that even inadvertent errors in such certifications can subject the officers to lengthy prison terms, and certainly expensive and emotionally draining defense efforts.

On the other hand, Congress regularly passes budgets and legislation of increasing depth and complexity, often prepared in haste at the eleventh hour -- obviously without even reading what they are voting on.

We want legislation requiring each solon under penalty of perjury to swear that he/she has read every word of any Bill before casting a vote on it.

Of course, it's not a perfect solution. The Speaker of the House just announced that each month of delay in passage of the stimulus porkapalooza cost 500 million US  jobs, and in the face of such patent innumeracy it might be argued that an acknowledgement that she read the Bill is no assurance that she can understand it; but nevertheless it's a start.
JOM poster JimmyK has suggested the creation of a new law which applies the principles of Sarbanes-Oxley to Congress. After giving this some thought, I am in full agreement, as long as my name appears as a co-sponsor, of course.

To refresh your recollection: in 2002, whipped into a frenzy by perceived  accounting irregularities in public corporations,  Congress passed what is known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act  (Pub.L. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745, enacted July 30, 2002), also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002) to require more stringent accounting and disclosure of corporate activities.

One of the most onerous portions of the Act, which contains both civil and criminal provisions requires, Chief Executive Officers to certify the accuracy of financial statements. Critics note that even inadvertent errors in such certifications can subject the officers to lengthy prison terms, and certainly expensive and emotionally draining defense efforts.

On the other hand, Congress regularly passes budgets and legislation of increasing depth and complexity, often prepared in haste at the eleventh hour -- obviously without even reading what they are voting on.

We want legislation requiring each solon under penalty of perjury to swear that he/she has read every word of any Bill before casting a vote on it.

Of course, it's not a perfect solution. The Speaker of the House just announced that each month of delay in passage of the stimulus porkapalooza cost 500 million US  jobs, and in the face of such patent innumeracy it might be argued that an acknowledgement that she read the Bill is no assurance that she can understand it; but nevertheless it's a start.