Here’s an idea about how to help businesses survive in this troubled economic climate: Stop allowing an unaccountable regulatory board — unclad by even a fig leaf of constitutionality — to ride roughshod over public companies.
In the wake of the Enron scam and other financial scandals several years ago, Congress enacted a packet of onerous new regulations. This Sarbanes-Oxley legislation created a regulatory board, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, to issue arbitrary edicts, impose arbitrary penalties, etc.
One problem with this star chamber is that its officers are neither appointed by the executive branch nor approved by Congress, as required by the Constitution.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Free Enterprise Fund want this practice to end. CEI explains that if the president were obliged to appoint and dismiss members of this board, as required by the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, “he will be on the hook for their policy failures, and thus have an interest in making them develop sound policies. . . . He won’t be able to blame the red tape on an unaccountable agency. . . .”
But the two organizations are not merely publishing op-eds and issuing press releases. They have filed suit, taking their case against the oversight board to the courts. And now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.
At last, this oversight board gets some much-needed oversight.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.