Makes the Unemployment Check Easier to Swallow

Meant to talk about this yesterday when it broke.

Arthur Anderson, or what's left of it, was acquitted of any wrongdoing yesterday by a unanimous 9-0 Supreme Court Decision in the Enron case.
With a brief, pointed and unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned Arthur Andersen's conviction for shredding Enron accounting documents
as that company was collapsing in one of the nation's biggest corporate scandals.

The court held that the trial judge's instructions to the jury failed to require the necessary proof that Andersen knew its actions were wrong.

But the decision represents little more than a Pyrrhic victory for Andersen, which lost its clients after being indicted on obstruction of justice charges and has no chance of returning as a viable enterprise. The accounting firm has shrunk from 28,000 employees in the United States to a skeleton crew of 200, who are attending to the final details of closing down the partnership.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial on the matter is a bit more pointed.
The verdict, if not the indictment itself, was a death sentence for the partnership, 98% of whose employees had never cast an eye on an Enron audit. It was handed down by a Houston jury after 10 days of deliberation, and nearly a hung jury, following instructions from the judge that the Supreme Court now says were faulty. Anyone interested in a succinct history of Andersen's role in the Enron collapse, by the way, should make a point of reading Chief Justice William Rehnquist's 12-page ruling for the Court.
That ruling can be found here.

I was at college at the time this all went down. (Wrote about it here.) Part of the problem that surfaced was that the media, fresh off of Recount 2000, wanted to bring Bush down to the level their Democratic and liberal friends felt he deserved to be at. So, in a fool-hardy attempt to make Enron Bush's "Watergate" and "Whitewater," a fine institution of American corporate enterprise was sacrificed.

Was there corporate wrongdoing? Yes - but not enough to have the damage effected to it and the thousands now employed elsewhere lose their livelihoods for what in essence was a media and political witchhunt.

Most of my friends at college who were Accounting majors ended up working for Ernst & Young out of the Twin Cities after school. E&Y is one of the remain "Big Four" accounting firms in America. Along with them are KPMG, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (Kurt has a friend who works there), and PriceWaterhouseCooper (PWC).

Arthur Anderson made it five.

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