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Washington, D.C. – Worldcom Inc. announced this week that it was restating $3.8 billion in expenses in its financial results over the last five quarters.

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., an accountant and senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, commented on the development.

"What happened with Enron can be compared to a plane crash. When a plane crashes, the airlines, FAA, National Transportation Safety Board and the flying public put air travel under a microscope. The planes that are of the same make and model as the one that crashed face particularly close examination. The situation in the financial world now is comparable. The SEC, the Justice Department and investors are taking a hard look at companies and their books. Similar to the way airline safety improves when problems are discovered and fixed, so too will the business world be improved by this process. Worldcom is attempting to fix a problem and I know there are other firms out there who have or are readjusting their statements.

"Restatements are nothing new, but now after Enron they make the news. There's no doubt that Worldcom's restatement will have profound consequences on the company, employees and investors. Restatements do mean more accurate accounting. We can expect most of them now, but some in the future. Most restatements are caused by changes in the rules, not illegal actions.

"The markets are extremely fragile because of other restatements and this development only increases the uncertainty. Correcting actions have already been taken and I am confident that our enforcement authorities, the SEC and the Department of Justice, will investigate and discipline any wrongdoers to the fullest extent possible.

"Enron was the catalyst for a crusade against bad accounting. Now companies are being more careful. Investors are asking more questions. Lawmakers and regulators are tightening up the rules. These are positives for the market, but we must be measured in our reactions. If people go too far, the solutions will be worse than the problem. Last week the Banking Committee passed an accounting bill. It's a pretty good compromise bill, but it's still not ready for prime time. There are some adjustments that need to be made to the legislation. Company financial restatements are going to happen, but we shouldn't let that be a cause for hasty legislating. We have a good start. Let's finish up the details and do it right. Congress shouldn't forget there are the appropriations bills to get through and little time left in this session.

"As we continue to sift through what happened at Enron and we see developments like we are seeing at Worldcom, Global Crossing and others, I think it's important to remember that accounting and accountants are not only at issue. Lawyers wrote and reviewed documents in every incident and they should face the same cross-examination."