House Votes to Block Auditor Independence Rule

Monday, the House voted 321-62 in favor of the Auditor Integrity and Job Protection Act, a bill to block regulators from enacting a rule designed to improve the independence and objectivity of auditing firms that review the books of publicly traded companies.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a private watchdog created by Congress in response to the Enron accounting scandal, has been considering a rule requiring companies to use different auditors on a rotating basis. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the Board has grown increasingly critical of major auditing firms, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte & Touch, for accepting information and evidence provided to them by corporate management without conducting a sufficient independent inquiry.

Data: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to members of the House of Representatives from supporting interests from January 1, 2011 - December 31, 2012. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org

  • Interests supporting the bill (including accountants, security brokers, and biotech companies) have given 138 times more money to members of the House than interests opposing (including unions and consumer groups).
  • Representatives voting "YES" on the bill received, on average, 66 percent more money from supporting interests than Representatives voting "NO."
  • Co-sponsors of the bill have received, on average, 2.4 times more money from supporting interests than the average raised by all members of the House.

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Image: Anticapitalistes.net