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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., appeared at a news conference today at the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) headquarters to celebrate the anniversary of the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley bill. Congress passed the legislation to provide more corporate accountability.

Others participating in the event included Sens. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., and Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, SEC Chairman William Donaldson and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Chairman William J. McDonough.

Enzi's statement follows.

Statement by Senator Michael B. Enzi
First Anniversary of the Passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
News Conference at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
July 30, 2003

We don't have to turn the clock back all that far before we would find ourselves back in the days of a seemingly endless list of corporate scandals. Almost every day the media seemed to report a story about big corporations that had serious and severe financial problems and accounting staffs that had failed to live up to their responsibilities and now had to be held accountable for their work in corporate America.

As the only accountant serving in the Senate, I was very concerned about my profession and the very large black eye some had caused from activities pursued over the years that suggested a conflict of interest or had the clear appearance of impropriety. Something had to be done to right the course of a corporate governance system that was off track.

In the months that followed, the Senate worked together in a bipartisan fashion to craft legislation that has had and will continue to have a greater impact on corporate behavior and financial reporting than any other legislation we have considered in the recent past.

Last year, as the Committee began its work, not only had corporate wrongdoers been taking control of the system away from those who invested and believed in the integrity of our public markets, but the very nature of our accounting policies and auditing standards had also been called into question.

There was no question about one important point, however. Whatever legislation we developed had to return integrity and confidence to the markets. It had to be clear and fair in its apportionment of responsibility and, above all, it had to ensure accountability throughout the industry. It was notable for its action and constraint.

Now we have reached the first anniversary of President Bush's signing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act into law. In the year since, we have seen a change in the marketplace and in overall corporate governance. We also have witnessed the placement of independent directors and effective auditors who are now an integral component of corporate oversight.

The passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was but the starting point of returning regulatory control back to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Another important step came with the enactment of the Accountant, Compliance, and Enforcing Staffing Act of 2003 that the President signed into law on July 3. This law provided the Securities and Exchange Commission with the much needed authority to hire accountants just as the agency could then hire attorneys. This demonstrates the importance of accountants as an integral part of a strong regulatory system.

In addition, the establishment of the Public Company Oversight Accounting Board has begun to make a difference in the auditing world. As Chairman McDonough continues to bring the Board up to speed, we will see the public company auditors providing financial accounting oversight on a much higher level. I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work that Chairman McDonough is doing to make this happen.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge and congratulate my Senate and House Banking Committee colleagues. Last year at this time, we all knew what we had to do. It wasn't easy, but with the dedication, perseverance, hard work and bipartisan cooperation of each member of these Committees, we were able to get the job done. I enjoyed being a part of this historical effort and I would especially like to acknowledge and thank Senator Sarbanes for his leadership and cooperation and Chairman Oxley for his dedication and work to pass this bill which has already had such a powerful impact not only on corporate America, but on corporate behavior around the world as well.

I would also like to thank Chairman Donaldson for taking such quick and firm control of the reins as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and for working with the Congress to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is done with investor respect and confidence in mind.