Compliance Alert: Senate Negotiators Reject & then Accept 404(b) Exemption

Posted by Teresa Bockwoldt on June 15, 2010

I contacted Fawn who posted the following press release today:

Wed Jun 16 15:07:13 2010
EDT      By Fawn Johnson      Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Members of the U.S. Senate hammering out the final version of a financial-overhaul bill have rejected a proposed exemption for small and mid-sized companies from audits required under the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley accounting law, according to a summary of their proposal circulated Wednesday.

House members of the financial bill's "conference committee" asked Tuesday that the exemption for companies with market capitalizations of less than $75 million be included in the final bill.

The auditing exemption in the House-passed financial bill was the subject of considerable controversy last year, prevailing over the objections of Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass.).

Small companies claim that internal controls mandated by Sarbanes-Oxley are too onerous for them, and for years the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has granted them extensions to prepare for compliance. But SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro has said she wants to stop granting exemptions and start requiring all companies to start complying.  

Some House Democrat leaders see the Sarbanes-Oxley exemption as weakening the broader proposed market-regulatory regime because it chips away at the landmark accounting law. 

Now don't get too excited about the above information.  I called Fawn and she said that after she posted the press release, the rejection was overturned and the amendment to include the exemption was accepted.  What this means, as Fawn put it, is that the amendment's fate is very fluid still and could change at any minute.  I will keep you posted.  

Tags: Non-accelerated filer 404(b) information