Former SEC chief Arthur Levitt uses the op-ed page of today's Washington Post to recommend that Congress clean itself up by instituting lobbying reform that mirrors the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. You can find his column at this link.
It's an interesting idea: under Levitt's imagined rules, lobbyists would have to disclose on a weekly basis and on-line, the names of congressmen with whom they meet, and the topics discussed. They would also have to certify that these disclosures were complete and accurate or face serious legal penalties including perhaps jail time. If tough reporting rules are good enough for big business and shareholders, Levitt reasons, they're good enough for citizens and their elected representatives. He also recommends that Congress create an ethics commission that would be stocked by objective outsiders, not unlike a corporate board.
Of course, it's easier for Congress to hold CEOs to account. Let's see if they are similarly willing to set for themselves such high standards.
Last updated: Jan 23, 2006
MIKE HOFMAN was previously editor of Inc.com and a deputy editor at Inc. magazine, which he joined in 1996. The site was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Digital Media in 2010, and was named the best business website by Folio Magazine. In 2006, Hofman was part of a team of writers nominated for a Webby Award for best business blog. He lives in New York City. @mikehofman