Skip to comments.Clinton Rips Bush on 90's Fraud(Hurl!)
Posted on 07/28/2002 1:21:27 PM PDT by Suzie_Cue
WASHINGTON (AP) - Former President Clinton ( news - web sites) says the bull market of the 1990s bred corporate corruption but that President Bush ( news - web sites)'s laying blame on his predecessor twists the truth.
"There was corporate malfeasance both before he took office and after," Clinton told a Washington television reporter. "The difference is I actually tried to do something about it, and their party stopped it" in Congress.
"And one of the people who stopped our attempt to stop Enron accounting was made chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission ( news - web sites)," Clinton said. "That is a fact; an indisputable fact."
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel would not respond Sunday to Clinton's specific comments but said: "There is a long-held tradition of former presidents acting in the national interests, not their own partisan interests. That long-held tradition has served the nation well, and President Bush is looking forward, not backward."
Clinton's interview was aired Friday on WJLA-TV Channel 7.
Bush was asked at a July 8 news conference whether Clinton had contributed to corporate excesses of the 1990s that have shaken the stock markets and slowed the nation's economic recovery. "No," Bush said. Asked later about controversies surrounding his new SEC commissioner, Bush said: "I think Harvey Pitt was put in place to clean up a mess."
Other White House officials have criticized the Clinton administration for letting underhanded corporate practices flourish.
Clinton also noted that Bush had blamed his effort to push Israel and the Palestinians into an overall settlement for violence that began in September 2000 and has become steadily worse.
"These people ran on responsibility, but as soon as you scratch them they go straight to blame," Clinton said in the interview. "Now you know, I didn't blame his father for Somalia ... I didn't do that.
"And I think that's not a real mark of leadership, and it's the wrong thing to do. But in this case, it's factually wrong."
Clinton said he began warning in 1998 about a gathering problem with corporate accounting practices, and when his SEC "tried to stop the Enron accounting practice of accountants being the consultants, the other party stopped us. And their main lobbyist was Harvey Pitt."
On the Middle East, Clinton said: "We had seven years of progress toward peace in the Middle East, and they tried to blame me for trouble in the Middle East. That's just what they do. Republicans have always done that. But it's bad form, and it's bad for America, and they should stop it."
The interview was taped after Clinton attended an observance to commemorate the 10th anniversary of passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The beginning of thread is remindful, by the way, of how Mr. Bill was so self - centered....."I, I, I,...My, my, my....Me, me, me"
Well, his whole life IS an exercise in masturbation, literally, as well as figuratively.
Voodoo doesn't work. If it did, bill would be stuffing his finger up his monkey a$$ while hillary was picking and eating the lice off his mangey monkey love handle.
The 'toon is getting cranky now that his daily intern services are gone. Hey scumbag, depends on the meaning of "is", go away, very far away.
Wrong, Billy. That title goes to Christopher Dodd (the head of the DNC at that time) and Joseph Lieberman. Here are excerpts from Frontline:
HEDRICK SMITH: Pressed by the high tech and accounting industries, the House and Senate passed the bill by large majorities. But President Clinton vetoed it, asserting that it would close the courthouse door on investors with legitimate claims. Some Senate Democrats rallied behind their president.
Sen. RICHARD BRYAN (D-NV): [Senate floor debate, December, 1995] It's safe to say that crooks will be emboldened, investor confidence in our markets will go down, and defrauded investors will not be compensated.
HEDRICK SMITH: But what happened next stunned observers.
Sen. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D-CT): But I believe that the override is the proper course to follow here.
HEDRICK SMITH: Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, then head of the Democratic National Committee, led the effort to overturn Clinton's veto.
Sen. CHRISTOPHER DODD: It is with a deep sense of regret that I'm on the opposite side of my president on this issue.
CHARLES LEWIS, Center for Public Integrity: Chris Dodd, here he is, he's Chairman of the Democratic Party, but he's also the leading advocate in the U.S. Senate on behalf of the accounting industry. And he helps overturn the veto of his own president, who installed him as Democratic chairman. Chris Dodd might as well have been on the accounting industry's payroll. He couldn't have helped them any more than he did as a U.S. senator.
HEDRICK SMITH: By way of thanks, the accounting industry gave Senator Dodd nearly one quarter of a million dollars in political donations, even though, at the time, Dodd was not up for reelection.
... second excerpt
HEDRICK SMITH: From all over the country, CEOs descended on Washington to beat back FASB.
SARAH TESLIK, Council of Institutional Investors: It was one of the most impressive lobbying efforts on earth. It was protecting CEOs' pay packages.
HEDRICK SMITH: [on camera] It was what?
SARAH TESLIK: Protecting CEOs' pay packages.
HEDRICK SMITH: So that's why it generated such enormous heat?
SARAH TESLIK: I mean, there's nothing in CEOs' salaries that compares to the numbers of CEO stock options. It was protecting CEOs' pay package. They were out in force.
Sen. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT): [Senate floor, May 3, 1994] What's on the line here really is the future of jobs in this country.
HEDRICK SMITH: [voice-over] Corporate America turned to friends on Capitol Hill, like Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
Sen. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Silicon Valley companies came to me at that time and said, "We need to use these stock options to lure the brilliant minds from the big companies that are paying them the kinds of salaries we can't pay them because we're going to give them a stake in the company."
ARTHUR LEVITT, SEC Chairman (1993-2001): I don't buy that argument one single bit.
HEDRICK SMITH: Arthur Levitt, President Clinton's new chairman of the SEC, was a Wall Street veteran and former head of the American Stock Exchange.
ARTHUR LEVITT: If it takes a stock option to induce an employee or an executive to come to a company and that stock option has to be represented as a cost on the balance sheet, in my judgment, America's executives are going to pay that price.
Sen. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Stock options are a remarkable and uniquely American device for-
HEDRICK SMITH: Senator Lieberman, echoing the accountants, also contended that the cost of options was impossible to calculate.
Sen. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: The concern that I had back in '93 and '94, that I still have, is how do you accurately value an option on the day it's granted?
HEDRICK SMITH: [on camera] Companies don't have any trouble figuring out how much options cost them when they list them on their tax returns to reduce their taxes.
Sen. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, that's a separate question which is an- an important question. Usually, that's done and it's done more- more effectively at the time they're exercised.
HEDRICK SMITH: Why would Lieberman of Connecticut be so desperately interested in this to take the lead?
SARAH TESLIK: Well, the insurance companies in Connecticut and the accountants are heavily based in Connecticut. FASB is in Connecticut. Both Senator Lieberman and Senator Dodd have historically been very protective of accountants and very protective of executives. Even though they talk a good liberal Democratic line, if you look at the votes and you look at the actions, it's not there.
HEDRICK SMITH: [voice-over] Led by Senator Lieberman, the Senate passed a non-binding resolution in May, 1994, condemning the FASB proposal by a lopsided 88-to-9 vote.
JIM LEISENRING: It wasn't an accounting debate. We switched talking from about whether, "Have we accurately measured the option?" to things like, "Western civilization will not exist without stock options," or that there won't be jobs anymore for people without job- without stock options. People tried to take the argument away from the accounting and over to be just plainly a political argument.
HEDRICK SMITH: [on camera] Why is the Senate voting 88 to 9, or something like that?
ARTHUR LEVITT: There was no question campaign contributions played the determinative role in that Senate activity, and the Congress was responsive to that.
HEDRICK SMITH: [voice-over] In fact, since 1990, the accounting industry has given over $43 million to candidates for Congress, including nearly $6 million in 1994, during the battle over stock options. When Republicans took over the House with a pro-business agenda that fall, threats to FASB escalated.
[on camera] Was the congressional pressure, in effect, a threat to the independence and even the financial-
JIM LEISENRING, FASB Vice Chairman (1988-2000): No, I would say it was a threat to the existence of the FASB. The threats were to our existence.
ARTHUR LEVITT: My concern was that if Congress put through a law that muzzled FASB, that would kill independent standard-setting. So I went to FASB at that time, and I urged them not to go ahead with the rule proposal.
[www.pbs.org: More on the stock option debate]
HEDRICK SMITH: [voice-over] Levitt and FASB retreated. FASB passed a rule that the cost of stock options should be disclosed, but only in the small-print footnotes of corporate reports.
ARTHUR LEVITT: It was probably the single biggest mistake I made in my years at the SEC.
Good God Woman... at least a warning!!!
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