September 20, 2019

Lobbyists

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Phoned in Its Opposition to the PCAOB’s Revised Auditor Report Proposals

If there's one thing that you can count on when regulators propose rules that will shake things up a bit, it's a whole-hearted opposition from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber's Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness's comment letter for the Concept Release was 20 pages long and is summed up quite well by this […]

It’ll Be Nothing Short of a Miracle for Meaningful Lease Accounting Reform to Become Reality

Since FASB Statement No. 13 was issued in the mid-70s, businesses have managed to develop a lot of creative ways for classifying some of their future obligations as operating leases, thus keeping those debts off their balance sheets. That's handy for all kinds of reasons, but some people think that it's a very bad thing. Solution? […]

Members of Congress Seem Surprised That Tax Reform Meetings with Interest Groups Would Arouse Cynicism

Last month, the House Ways and Means Committee announced that it was creating eleven working groups to kickstart this tax reform idea that's been thrown around. At the time the effort was described as a "fact-finding mission" which is funny because facts are not something Congress is known to have a firm grasp of. REGARDLESS! This […]

The SEC Investigation into Ernst & Young’s Lobbying Activities Isn’t Going to Amount to Much

Late yesterday, Sarah Lynch and Dena Aubin at Reuters reported that the SEC was poking around Ernst & Young's lobbying activities on behalf of audit clients. Apparently the investigation has been going on since Reuters first broke the story back in March that the specialized advisory group of Washington Council Ernst & Young was trotting around […]

Get Your Dancing Shoes, It’s AICPA Council Week

It's that time of year again when lobbyists dust off their agendas and head to Washington to represent the voice of America's CPAs and their clients for the spring meeting of AICPA Governing Council. Once again I'll be covering the festivities however since hardly any of you actually care about legislative news or anything serious […]

Missing: One South Carolina Lobbyist and Up to $900,000

On February 18, South Carolina Hospitality Association CEO Tom Sponseller was seen around noon at the association's offices in Columbia near the State House but has not been seen since. When Sponseller failed to show up to his grandson's Boy Scouts event at 2pm, Sponseller's wife was concerned. She and other family searched for him […]

Grover Norquist Gives Congressman Frank Wolf the Heebie Jeebies

“My conscience has compelled me to come to the floor today to voice concerns I have with the influence Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, has on the political process in Washington,” Wolf read from a statement on the floor of the House of Representatives today. Wolf listed a series of associations that he said undermines Norquist’s credibility as a policy advocate. Among them, he cited a relationship Norquist had with former lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff. “Mister Abramoff essentially laundered money through ATR and Mister Norquist knew it,” Wolf said. [Bloomberg]

A Mountain of Hate Mail Gets FASB to Backtrack on Fair Value

If the drinks at Davos weren’t already free, we’re pretty sure Stephen Schwarzman would be buying.

From the Journal’s man on the accounting beat, Michael Rapoport:

Accounting rule makers took a key step Tuesday to reverse a proposal that would have required banks to value their loans based on the ups and downs of the market. The Financial Accounting Standards Board agreed that companies could continue to carry a variety of financial assets and liabilities at amortized cost, an adjusted version of their original cost, as they do now. That would reverse a proposal the board introduced last May that would have required bank loans and other financial assets to be carried at “fair value,” based on market prices.

What happened, you ask? What caused the FASB to fold like a cheap lawn chair? Remember all those nastygrams that were sent to Bob Herz? It sounds like the FASB took those personally:

FASB indicated the overwhelmingly negative reaction to its proposal, from companies and investors alike, played a big role in prompting the board to change its mind. The board received more than 2,800 comment letters on its fair-value proposal, most of them opposed to the move, and heard more opposition at a series of public roundtables before it began reconsideration of its proposal for fair-value changes.

So the bankers win this round. Oh, wait…they win every round.

Accounting Board Backs Off ‘Mark to Market’ Push [WSJ]

The Two Best Comment Letters Written to the FASB You’ll Ever Read

Last month we told you about how the American Bankers Association encouraged anyone that disagreed with the FASB’s proposed fair value rule to write a letter telling Herz & Co. how much the proposal suind enough to provide a template for said “FASB Blows” correspondence so the anti-fair value crowd could get the gist of what needed to be said.

The ABA did warn, however, that the FASB hates, loathes, DETESTS form letters, so in order to make a valid point, it was advisable to not simple slap your name in the appropriate place but to articular your own special brand of hatred for the FASB.

As you may recall, many ABA groupies did not heed this warning, which no doubt resulted in Bob Herz and the rest of the Norwalk team using the letters to stoke their mid-summer weenie roast bonfire.

As disappointed as the ABA must have been with the lack of originality, we were sent this shining example that has been making the rounds at the Big 4 (or so we’re told). Our guess is that this is more of what the ABA had in mind:

FASB1

Bravo, James C. Blaine. Bravo. You are most definitely into the brevity thing. You have, presumably, made the ABA proud. But wait, there is a pro-fair value letter worthy of these pages.


Granted, it was written back in May but Brian Cowell is no less passionate than Mr Blaine:

FASB2

Nicely done, both of you. Everyone take note.

Accountants Can Kick a Politician’s Butt?

Figuratively, of course.
Denver Post:

Perlmutter, a Democrat from Golden, had introduced an amendment that would allow regulators, if they ever faced another economic crisis like the one last fall, to tinker with standard accounting rules that many believe exacerbated the crash.
But accountants, despite their milquetoast image, are not to be messed with lightly. An army of pinstriped lobbyists had been working committee Democrats for two days, and by just after 2 p.m. Wednesday, they forced Perlmutter to accept a compromise that gutted the amendment.
“Basically, the accountants were kicking my butt,” Perlmutter conceded.

Of course. Should of known it was lobbyists and not an army of abacus-wielding Bob Herz fanboys.