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Michael Oxley Knew Sarbanes-Oxley "could spell trouble"

April 6, 2007

Tags Financial MarketsInterventionism

Bob Greifeld, the President and CEO of Nasdaq, was once a great critic of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), citing the anti-competitive drag that SOX helped to foist upon his industry. How charming it is, then, to see that Nasdaq has recently brought Michael Oxley - one of the co-founders of SOX - on board as a Vice Chairman at the exchange. Oxley received much glory and worship for his groundbreaking toasting of American business, and following his run in Washington, he was hired on by a big Washington law firm (surprise, surprise). Now he will be moonlighting as he joins Greifeld at Nasdaq where his job will not be to lobby, but to "work to make the culture of Washington more transparent to clients." I suppose there's supposed to be a distinction between the two job descriptions. Note that currently Greifeld and Oxley "said they supported the principles of the law but said aspects of how it is implemented could be refined."

The International Herald Tribune recently ran an interview with our hero Michael Oxley. Mr. Oxley, who was a rather undistinguished member of congress before his wave of regulatory hellfire, said that given another chance he would write the law differently. He also admitted that SOX 404 (one of the most burdensome aspects of the Act that focuses on the operating effectiveness of internal controls) was something he knew could "spell trouble" in the long haul. But his excuse is that "Rome was burning" so someone had to be expedient in raising the level of confidence of the collective public.

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