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May 31, 2002

Lawmakers Back Pitt

By Gregory Bresiger

The firestorm of criticism about SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt is "much ado about nothing." Pitt is "an honorable, intelligent man who is doing a good job." Those comments came from key committee chairmen in the House of Representatives recently at the Security Traders Association's recent congressional conference. Both Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Richard Baker (R-Louisiana), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, made a point of telling trading professionals that Pitt should stay in his post despite the media criticism.

In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, the paper charged that the former securities attorney has exacerbated the controversies over Enron and Arthur Andersen. "Mr. Pitt hasn't helped his task of restoring trust in corporate governance by the way he's appeared to assist his former industry clients," the editorial stated.