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July 24, 2012


Francine McKenna


I would have to agree with you on this, reluctantly. With regard to the audit firms there is a "too few to fail" policy and the government does not want to light the match on the next firm causing it to fail, even if there is an equivalent threat from private litigation. I've even said that, given this fear by prosecutors, an audit firm would have to be making money, condoned by senior leadership, on human trafficking or child pornography or both to be considered criminal and even then maybe not.

James Ulvog

It is hard to figure out the pattern.

I wonder if the distinction between capital punishment for Arthur Andersen and mild to moderate sanctions for the Penn State football program is visible contrition and a desire to make corrections.

From what I’ve read, near the end of Andersen’s life the federal prosecutors concluded that senior leadership of the firm considered yet another round of sanctions as a mere cost of doing business. That would suggest from the prosecutor’s perspective that serial audit failures would likely continue into the distant future. The only way to change that behavior is capital punishment.

From what I’ve seen, the key players in the football program are gone, the leadership of Penn State has accepted the consequences, and leadership says, publicly at least, that they will change the culture. Thus, no capital punishment.

There’s much to ponder here. Thanks.

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