Table: Why Reform Has Stalled
-- Hill Democrats hoped to ban consulting by audit firms for corporate clients and create a strong auditor oversight board. Accounting firms and corporations lobbied hard against both. White House proposal directs the SEC to write auditor guidelines.
STATUS House-passed bill favors Bush approach. Senate Democrats have yet to send a bill to the floor.
-- Some senators want companies to deduct stock options from earnings if they take a deduction when options are exercised. White House, SEC, and Silicon Valley are opposed.
STATUS Senate measure lacks votes, making passage highly unlikely.
-- SEC jawboned stock exchanges to require boards to oversee auditors and to get shareholder approval of stock options. Investors and activists pushed companies to separate auditing from consulting.
STATUS While NYSE is proposing tough new listing standards that follow SEC ideas, Nasdaq's new rules are weak. Many companies are no longer hiring audit firms for consulting work.