World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


President Bush's Radio Address - WorldCom Scandal

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 29, 2002

President's Radio Address
The Cabinet Room

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week, we learned of another deeply troubling accounting scandal at a major American corporation. Reports allege that the company hid nearly $4 billion in expenses, and reported profits when it may have actually lost more than a billion dollars. The Securities and Exchange Commission immediately filed suit against the company to preserve documents, so that a complete and thorough investigation can take place, and to ensure that the company cannot give massive payments to executives during the investigation.

Despite recent abuses of the public's trust, our economy remains fundamentally sound and strong, and the vast majority of businesspeople are living by the rules. Yet, confidence is the cornerstone of our economic system, so a few bad actors can tarnish our entire free enterprise system. We must have rules and laws that restore faith in the integrity of American business. The government will fully investigate reports of corporate fraud, and hold the guilty parties accountable for misleading shareholders and employees. Executives who commit fraud will face financial penalties, and, when they are guilty of criminal wrongdoing, they will face jail time.

In March, I unveiled a ten-point plan designed to enhance the economic security of Americans by providing better information to investors, making corporate officers more accountable, and delivering a stronger, more independent auditing system. Among other measures, the plan would give the Securities and Exchange Commission two critical tools to hold corporate officers accountable.

First, corporate officers who personally benefit from false accounting statements should lose all the money gained by their fraud. An executive whose salary or bonus is tied to his company's performance makes more money when the company has done well. That is fair when all of the accounting is done above board. Yet, when bad accounting practices make the company appear to be more successful than it actually is, corporate executives should lose their phony profits gained at the expense of employees and stockholders.

Second, corporate leaders who violate the public's trust should never be given that trust again. The Securities and Exchange Commission should be able to punish corporate leaders who clearly abuse their powers by banning them from ever serving again as officers or directors of publicly held corporations.

Since my call for action, the Securities and Exchange Commission has sought to take away the profits of senior executives from four different companies, and in this year the SEC has sought to bar 54 officers and directors. On Thursday, the SEC ordered the CEOs and CFOs of the 1,000 largest public companies to certify that the financial information they submitted in the last year was fair and accurate.

In addition to bringing a new measure of accountability to American businesses, my administration is committed to protecting the retirement savings of American workers. The plan I unveiled in February would give workers greater freedom to diversify and manage their own retirement funds. It would ensure that corporate executives are held to the same restrictions as workers during blackout periods, when employees are prohibited from trading in their accounts. It would give workers quarterly information about their investments. And it would expand workers' access to investment advice. These measures should give American workers confidence that their investments will not fall prey to unethical executives.

America is ushering in a new era of responsibility, and that ethic of responsibility must extend to America's boardrooms. I want every American to know that the vast majority of businesspeople are honest individuals who do right by the employees and their shareholders. The unethical actions of a few should not be allowed to call into question our whole free enterprise system.

No violation of the public's trust will be tolerated. The federal government will be vigilant in prosecuting wrongdoers to ensure that investors and workers maintain the highest confidence in American business.

Thank you for listening.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news