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- Pitt, for example, has said he wants to dump Regulation Fair Disclosure, which he says protects corporate execs from liability "by telling nothing to no one"; Goldschmid wrote Reg FD for the commission. Pitt led the coalition of accounting firms (which he represented, after his earlier SEC service) that reached a compromise with former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt: Levitt wanted to end the practice of accounting firms offering both auditing services and also consulting services to big companies, but Pitt successfully fought that off. Pitt favored, and testified in favor of, the 1995 Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which reduced executives' potential risk in fraud cases; Goldschmid went the other way, including backing President Bill Clinton's futile veto of the bill.
Anytime public officials get into jihads over that magical word "reform," we have to remember how broadly, and sometimes how differently, it is defined. One of my favorite memories of the Texas Legislature -- a comedy club par excellence, which convenes every other year across town from my office in Austin -- was the time two decades ago when "reform" was the theme of a wildly acrimonious session. Both sides, of course, claimed they were with the angels in their definitions of the word; needless to say, their definitions were very different. The battle came to a peak one day when the member of the House holding down the microphone drew his many listeners' attention to the balcony surrounding the House floor, the place tourists usually sit to watch the show. On his cue, in the balcony a squad of seven young women from a Texas junior college stood up, in their short-skirts-and-shiny-tops cheerleader outfits, turned their backs to the assembled legislators and flipped up the back of their skirts. A large capital letter was neatly attached to each woman's derriere; from left to right, they spelled out R-E-E-F-O-R-M. Like the making of sausage, the making of public policy is not always a pretty thing to watch. But sometimes it can be very funny. Your cue, Chairman Pitt.