Bush to CEOs: No more fudging the books
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday will sign a sweeping corporate reform bill he hopes will restore America's confidence in its financial markets.
In Charleston, South Carolina, during a roundtable discussion on welfare reform Monday, Bush lauded the legislation that will cross his desk.
"If you're a CEO and you think you can fudge the books in order to make yourself look better, we're going to find you, we're going to arrest you, and we're going to hold you to account," he said.
The signing ceremony will take place in the White House East Room with lawmakers and members of the corporate fraud task force the administration created in response to recent accounting scandals.
By all accounts, lawmakers pushed the get-tough legislation through Congress at lightning speed, within weeks. The confluence of events; plummeting stock markets, voter anger and approaching congressional elections, put tremendous pressure on Congress to approve legislation imposing tough oversight on accountants and sharply increases penalties for fraud.
The bill includes the creation a new oversight board to monitor the accounting industry, new and tougher penalties for corporate fraud, and more money for the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Later in the day, at a Republican fund-raiser for former Congressman Mark Sanford, who is running for governor in South Carolina, the president proclaimed:
"Tomorrow I'm signing a good bill -- a bill overwhelmingly embraced by Republicans and Democrats. It says loud and clear to corporate America, we expect you to be responsible, we expect you to be responsible with the people's money. We expect you to be responsible for the shareholders and your employees and if you're not, we're going to investigate you, arrest you and prosecute you."
It is a bill much tougher than The White House envisioned, led by Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, who with his colleagues was able to garner bipartisan support for the measure after public outrage ballooned over the state of corporate America.
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