More On My Reuters Breakingviews Column: The Andersen Tax Name Grab

The news that a tax consulting firm made up of ex-Andersen partners would take the Andersen name garnered much media attention, as you might expect. It says something—but maybe not what the firm’s partners think— that so many years after the destruction of Arthur Andersen by criminal indictment—thirteen years—so many people care.

Auditor Independence: Another Case of Misplaced Loyalty

Ryan Adams testified on behalf of PwC in an important court case. How can PwC be independent of Adam’s employer Marin Software, and Adams, the Financial Reporting Director at this newly public PwC-audited client company, if he’s testifying on PwC’s behalf in litigation that could impact PwC’s business model in California and, perhaps, nationally?

You’ll Never Eat Lunch… A Review of “This Town” By Mark Leibovich

Mark Leibovich’s “This Town” is billed in the flap copy of the dust jacket as “a blistering, stunning —and often hysterically funny— examination of our ruling class’s incestuous ‘media industrial complex.’” Does anyone still eat lunch with him? In the new 24-7 news cycle, the half-life of any criticism of DC culture is about three days.

PwC Put Guy Who Whitewashed For Bank In Partner Spot

The NYDFS PwC investigation discovered several emails that Benjamin Lawsky, the Superintendent of Financial Services for New York, characterized Monday as examples of a consultant going along with a “whitewash”.

Auditors and the Financial Crisis: Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?

This is the text of my speech for the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics Conference last Friday. The theme of this year conference was “The Institutional Foundation of Capitalism”. Our special session was entitled ‘The New Financial Architecture after Financial Crisis’.

University of Chicago Booth Capital Ideas Magazine: Two New Articles

I have two articles in the University of Chicago Booth Capital Ideas Magazine Summer 2014 issue. One is about bank monitoring of private company financials and the other is about bank stress test disclosure. Their cover story, “Think you’re not a racist?” is also worth a close read.

Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Are Back: More “Adjustments”, More Calls For Reform

“If accounting errors were felonies in California, Fannie Mae would already be serving life under Three Strikes.” That’s what GoingConcern.com said. See what I told TheStreet.com about Fannie Mae’s latest multi-billion dollar “adjustments”.

An e-Book: Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway: Corporate Governance and The Sokol Affair

This compilation covers the period from April 4 – when the David Sokol scandal hit – to May 3, 2011 when I attended the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

US Department of Justice v KPMG: Document Shows “Too Few To Fail” Was Opening Premise

A new KPMG tax shelter era document surfaced, in original format, that had not yet been cited or quoted from in any media reports. The document tells us that late in the negotiations, June 27, 2005 the DOJ still would not agree to all of KPMG’s terms, including promising not to criminally charge the firm. But the decision to make sure the firm did not “go under” had already been made. KPMG and its Skadden attorneys only had to make sure the DOJ didn’t, in a misguided show of sheer aggressiveness, cause another Arthur Andersen.

PwC, And HP, Sued By Mobile Monitor Technologies LLC For Theft of Trade Secrets

An ugly lawsuit filed by Mobile Monitor Technologies LLC against PwC and HP could be an excellent example of what Monadnock’s Mark O’Connor referred to in a recent post here: Advisory work that auditors perform can present an untenable conflict in performing their primary role, and public duty to the capital markets, as auditors.

Guest Post From Eric Starkman: The “Unvarnished” Truth About General Motors

GM is in trouble again and this time it’s worse than some weak internal controls or even a bankruptcy. Cost cutting may have discouraged the prompt replacement of faulty ignition switches now linked to at least 13 fatalities and the recall of 2.6 million vehicles. Are you still glad we bailed the company out?