The Sec Vs. Cp As: Suddenly, It's Hardball

A plan for tighter oversight of auditors has them up in arms

It is an unusually public slugfest for two parties that normally keep their fights private. In one corner is Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur J. Levitt, the politically savvy shareholder crusader, who in a May 10 speech on auditor independence fired his latest salvo against the accounting profession. He's pitted against the green-eyeshade set--and its glitzy management-consultant brethren--who believe they may be battling toe-to-toe with the SEC chief for their very survival.

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