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Lawmakers Propose Audit Watchdog Disciplinary Work Go Public

The U.S. regulator of auditors would take its disciplinary process public under a bill introduced in the Senate today.

The bill sponsored by Senators Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat and member of the Senate Banking committee, and Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican on the Finance committee, would allow the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to issue orders and conduct disciplinary hearings in public when accusing accounting firms of missteps. Under the current rules the disciplinary actions are private until final resolution.

Members of the oversight board have sought to make the process public, in line with how the Securities and Exchange Commission operates.

“Investors and companies alike should be aware when the auditors and accountants they rely on have been charged or sanctioned for violating professional auditing standards,” Reed said in a statement. The PCAOB is supervised by the SEC and funded by the U.S.-listed companies being audited. The board oversees more than 2,400 accounting firms.

Since it was established by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the PCAOB has resolved 38 enforcement actions, according to Colleen Brennan, a spokeswoman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jesse Hamilton in Washington at jhamilton33@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lawrence Roberts at lroberts13@bloomberg.net.

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