SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt is once again under fire. This time, he neglected to tell his fellow commissioners that William Webster headed the audit committee of U.S. Technologies when it "voted to dismiss the outside auditors... after those auditors raised concerns about internal financial controls."
U.S. Technologies, now a penny stock, is facing a rash of lawsuits over accounting issues. Webster, meanwhile, was subsequently approved to head up the SEC's newly created oversight board.
Could there be any possible reason Pitt kept quiet about Webster's past?
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Top 10 Harvey Pitt Excuses
- Quote of Note
- Microsoft Breathes a Sigh of Relief
- Shameless Plug: We'll Give You Some Credit
- Does Martha Matter?
- Discussion Board of the Day: Crafty Fools
- Quick Takes: Cigna , Lucent , ImClone, more
- And Finally...
10. His mouth was full.
9. His pay is tied to the number of negative news stories he generates.
8. Mistook William Webster for former NBA star Marvin "The Human Eraser" Webster.
7. He recused himself from using common sense.
6. He was in the process of ordering an internal investigation into whether he should tell the truth.
5. Buying time to figure out why the SEC has nothing to do with college athletics.
4. Was waiting to mention it the next time someone argued that Webster didn't have enough business experience.
3. Thought it would create enough of a distraction to throw off the scent from his master plan to rule the world. Mwahahahaha!
2. Had to rush home that day to bake cookies for SEC Halloween party.
1. Thought his job description said "lose ethical behavior" instead of "use ethical behavior."
"An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie; for an excuse is a lie guarded." -- Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet
This is a huge win for Microsoft, and may be the decisive step toward putting this mess behind it. This is the outcome the company and the Justice Department wanted. Microsoft has already implemented some of the remedies from the Justice Department's settlement, so material changes to the company's business won't be necessary. Judge Kollar-Kotelly made only one change to the settlement, requiring the company to disclose some sensitive technical information to competitors a few months ahead of schedule. Big whoop.
Had the ruling gone the other way, Microsoft most certainly would've appealed and remained mired in this for even longer. Of course, we mustn't overlook the fact that some very angry attorneys general will likely appeal, so it's not over yet. However, given that Judge Kollar-Kotelly gave the states their own special hearing, and then took months to make her decision, many legal pundits think lengthy, drawn-out appeals from the states won't be tolerated.
Credit can be your best friend or your worst enemy. And you know what they say.... Don't turn your back on your enemies. Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate. So it's time to address that big elephant in the closet -- your credit. We've got your back! Visit our new Motley Fool Credit Center, and learn how to make credit work for you.
When Martha Stewart LivingOmnimedia
Beyond the fact that the media may have blown her one trading mishap out of proportion -- something that our own David Gardner argued last week -- it's important not to rest success or failure on the shoulders of one person. Yes, even if that person just happens to also share the corporate moniker.
A company is not like a rock band, where an ill-fated plane crash puts an end to the music. As a matter of fact, some companies find their most influential leaders further down the succession line. Mickey Drexler at Gap
There's more to a name at a company -- even if that name just happens to belong on the official corporate letterhead.
Think you can out-Martha Martha? Have some holiday decorating tips to share? Don't know your potpourri from a potluck? All this and more -- in the Crafty Fools discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
While the SEC is busy investigating itself over the William Webster fiasco, it's also looking into a couple of other matters. Health insurance provider Cigna
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal says the SEC investigation into possible "earnings manipulations" at Lucent Technologies
Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
In local news, Leander Brock was released from the county jail this morning. Officials said the cattle farmer apparently violated no laws when he handed out fried mountain oysters to trick-or-treaters last night.
Today on Fool.com: Bill Mann says in a game of Chinese checkers, you'll lose.... We explain erratic stock movements, in Fool's School.... The tax implications of shorting a stock, in our Tax Center.... And the Post of the Day: discussing biotechnology.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim