Chris Cox, Powder Keg

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Oops! So much for corporate accountability! Think Progress has the goods on Bush’s nomination for chairman of the SEC, Chris Cox who, not surprisingly, is soft on fraud. My very short take on this is that good corporate governance relies on sound rules and regulations only up to a certain point; ultimately, though, it depends on the personal integrity of the people in management and those sitting on the Board of Directors of a given firm. Even the most vigilant of SEC chairmen is unlikely to prevent a CEO who really, really wants to trash investor wealth and screw over employees from doing so. On the other hand, rules and regulations aren’t meaningless, either, and Cox’s history of gutting safeguards against fraud is, to put it mildly, deplorable.

One other note, and this gets down to dirty, dirty politics—although it’s grounded firmly in virtue! Democrats won’t, but if they knew what was good for them, they would make a colossal fuss about this during the confirmation hearings. The fact remains that corporate governance issues have the potential to rend the GOP right down the middle. According to the latest Pew poll, 88 percent of social conservatives and 83 percent of “pro-government” conservatives think that “too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few large companies.” That’s a good chunk of the Republican base right there. On the other hand, as Noam Scheiber recently noted, pro-business Republicans are getting awfully sick of social conservatives stealing the show and hijacking Bush’s agenda. In fact, the Republican business community has gotten very little of its wish list ticked off thus far—no Social Security phase-out, no tort “reform”, no tax reform. Chris Cox is one of the few bones that President Bush can throw them at this point. There’s a lot of tension here just waiting to be exploited by a bloody confirmation hearing.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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