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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Third Times a Charm!!!

No one would mistake me as a fan of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson or his committees aimed at increasing Wall Street’s competitiveness regardless of the cost to individual investors. Not surprisingly, I was skeptical when I learned of last week’s announcement from the Treasury that it was creating yet another committee, this one with the directive to study problems in the accounting industry.

However, I must admit I was encouraged to learn that former securities chief, Arthur Levitt will be leading the new committee’s efforts. It’s no secret that Mr. Levitt doesn’t think Paulson’s concerns over Wall Street’s competitiveness hold much weight and has in fact made public comments questioning the soundness of proposals that would limit investors’ rights to sue. As Alan Murray writes in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal “perhaps Paulson sees this as a harmless way to bring the outspoken Mr. Levitt onto the team, and soften his criticism.” Whatever Paulson’s reason for appointing Levitt as co-chairman, I’m encouraged to know that there’s at least one committee member who’s looking out for the rights of investors; not to mention, the Levitt Committee just has a nicer ring to it.

Paulson suggested in an op-ed that appeared in the Financial Times on May 17th that the committee is intended to be a public forum where “investors, advocates, and companies can present a wide range of views, engage in informed debate and provide recommendations.” In the hopes of ensuring that ordinary investors are protected, I decided to take him up on his offer and have submitted a request to Treasury Under Secretary Robert Steel to see if there’s an opportunity for my involvement. Stay tuned.


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