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JULY 9, 2002
2:52 PM
CONTACT:  Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Bush's Version of "Corporate Responsibility"

    Director of the Campaign for Corporate Reform for the group Citizen Works, Cray said today: "Although it appears there are good things in Bush's speech, a lot of what he is 'proposing' is apparently inevitable considering the momentum in Congress for the Sarbanes bill. Bush could have closed the offshore tax haven loophole which allows CEOs to claim that they are not covered by the new proposals by locating overseas. He could have strengthened whistle-blower protections, he could have barred corporate criminals from getting government contracts. Bush's SEC budget increase is much less than what is being proposed by the House. He said nothing about the expensing of options on accounting reports, which is critical."

    Hauter is director of Public Citizen's energy program; Slocum is research director for the group. They are co-authors of the report "Blind Faith: How Deregulation and Enron's Influence Looted Billions from Americans." Public Citizen today called for the Bush administration to name a special counsel to probe the Halliburton firm's accounting during Dick Cheney's tenure as CEO. Slocum commented today: "Bush said that self-regulation is not enough, but his speech had a tremendous reliance on voluntary actions.... Bush can say that 95 percent of CEOs are honest, but unfortunately the other 5 percent seem to be controlling most of the U.S. economy."

    Author of the essay "Human vs. Corporate Rights" in the recently released book Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy, Zepernick is co-coordinator of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy. She said today: "Corporate scandals and crime are really business as usual. Corporate misbehavior, whether legal or illegal, is not the root of the problem; the fundamental abuse is corporate usurpation of our self-governance. Corporations have acquired the rights of legal personhood: free speech, when workers do not have free speech rights on corporate property; Fourth Amendment protection against search and seizure, which protects corporations against OSHA inspection when it was intended to protect people.... When those who rule feel threatened, they will attempt to co-opt public concern by reforms and rhetoric in order to forestall democratic change."

    Editor of Corporations Are Gonna Get Your Mama and co-founder of Global Exchange, Danaher said today: "What the people in power are trying to do is say these are a few bad apples, but what's wrong is the nature of the system. Corporations have basically taken over the government. They push an ideology of 'deregulate,' arguing that if we deregulate a market, then everyone will benefit somehow. CEOs run corporations in such a way that they benefit, while pension funds get depleted, workers get laid off, the citizens get deceived. What's needed is a separation of corporations and the state, just as there was a separation of church and state...."


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