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Accounting News Roundup: A New Runner in the GOP Race; Rumored PCAOB Member Candidates; Bank Accounting Cuts Both Ways | 01.13.12

Colbert for President: A Run or a Comedy Riff? [NYT]
Mr. Colbert, the Comedy Central television host, has made jokes at the expense of super PACs for months — forming his own group, soliciting money for it, then running an ad that featured Buddy Roemer, a long-shot candidate who has criticized the Supreme Court decision that allows the existence of the free-spending PACs so long as they do not explicitly coordinate with candidates. On Thursday night’s “Colbert Report,” Mr. Colbert took it a big step further, handing control of his group to his friend and fellow host Jon Stewart so that he can legally run for president, or at least pretend to. Mr. Colbert, who has comically flirted with — and mocked the possibility of — runs for political office before, said he would form an “exploratory committee for president of the United States of South Carolina.”

US federal budget deficit about $47B less in first quarter of 2012 budget year than 2011 [WaPo]
The federal deficit was lower in the first quarter of the 2012 budget year than the same period last year. Yet, the imbalance remains high by historical standards and should keep lawmakers debating tax increases and spending cuts through Election Day. The Treasury Department said Thursday the deficit was $86 billion in December. And it was $322 billion through the first three months of the budget year — $47 billion less than the same time last year.

SEC eyes two for audit watchdog board: sources [Reuters]
The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering appointing either University of Tennessee professor Joseph Carcello or Jeanette Franzel, a managing director of financial management and assurance at the Government Accountability Office, these people said. Whomever the SEC decides to tap would replace PCAOB board member Daniel Goelzer, whose term expired in October.

Accounting Quirk Lurks as Wild Card in Banks' Earnings [WSJ]
Accounting rules that helped U.S. banks list billions of dollars in paper gains on derivatives in the third quarter of 2011—boosting their bottom lines—may now work against some banks as they post losses in that area in the fourth quarter. The losses, paradoxically produced because the value of the banks' bonds rose in recent weeks, stem from an accounting rule called a "debit valuation adjustment" that permits banks to record unrealized gains when the value of their own bonds declines. The possible losses couldn't come at a worse time for banks, threatening to knock their stocks off course just as they are gaining momentum.

U.S. Opens Diamond Foods Inquiry [WSJ]
Federal prosecutors have opened an inquiry into whether financial practices at Diamond Foods Inc. involved criminal fraud, people familiar with the matter said, a development that raises the stakes for the snack maker and could jeopardize its acquisition of Pringles from Procter & Gamble Co. Prosecutors in the white-collar division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco are coordinating with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in looking into how Diamond treated payments it made to walnut growers last summer, the people said. The SEC told the company last month that it had opened a formal investigation into the payments.
Rand Paul blocking tax treaties over fears of government snooping [The Hill]
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is holding up a trio of international tax treaties over concerns that the pacts give the federal government too much power to invade personal privacy. The Obama administration says the three treaties — with Luxembourg, Hungary and Switzerland — will help the U.S. battle tax evasion by reining in the use of offshore accounts to hide assets from the IRS. But a Senate aide said the libertarian-leaning Paul thinks the treaties go too far and has placed a hold on them to prevent floor votes. Paul, an outspoken critic of the Patriot Act because of privacy concerns, thinks the agreements "allow the government to obtain a wide array of records without evidence that people may be hiding money," the aide said.
KPMG's Portland Office Celebrates 100 Year Anniversary, Turns $1,200 Into 1,200 Months [KPMG]
J.P. Cash (yes) got a $1,200 advance from the New York office of Marwick, Mitchell, Peat and Co. on January 15, 1912.
Police ticket boy after toy motorcycle hits SUV [AP]

Police in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez ticketed a 6-year-old boy for reckless driving, driving without a license and not having his toy motorcycle registered after he crashed it into an SUV. The boy's mother, Karla Noriega, says police also impounded the child-sized motorbike that her son got for Christmas after he ran into an SUV at a park on Dec. 27.


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