Are some large firms, financial or otherwise, getting a free pass from prosecution because of their size and scope of operations? How about their responsible officers? Recent congressional hearings have raised concerns that this may indeed be the case. Is it ever appropriate for agencies and prosecutors to consider the size of a business when contemplating enforcement actions? Some would say that the prosecution of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen in 2002 (subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court) put the firm out of business, putting thousands of employees on the unemployment lines and further concentrating the accounting industry. Others contend that the problem with prosecuting large firms alone justifies limiting the size of firms. Is it enough for justice and deterrence sake to be able to take enforcement actions against culpable individuals without prosecuting the whole company?
On this previously held conference call, these and other questions are discussed by two people with direct experience with these issues. As a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission from July 2002 through August 2008, Paul Atkins had to face these questions from the enforcement side. Former Deputy White House Counsel Timothy Flanigan served as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Tyco International after the leadership of the firm was subject to prosecution for alleged significant misdeeds. Flanigan is credited with a leading role in the efforts to restore the credibility of the firm, allowing it to continue as an ongoing enterprise.
- Hon. Paul S. Atkins, Chief Executive, Patomak Global Partners, and former Commissioner, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
- Hon. Timothy E. Flanigan, Partner, McGuireWoods LLP, and former Deputy White House Counsel
- Moderator: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society