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Accounting News Roundup: Obama Signs H.R. 4462; Sam Antar Warns KPMG; Mary Schapiro Found an Employee by Reading His Op-ed

Obama signs H.R. 4462 making Haiti donations deductible on 2009 tax returns [AccountingWEB]
The bad legislation officially becomes law with the POTUS’ signature. The new law applies only to cash contributions and you still have to provide documentation to substantiate your claim. For those of that donated by text message, your phone bill that shows the donation will suffice.
Open Letter to KPMG: A Warning About, Your New Audit Client [White Collar Fraud]
There’s no doubt that the new audit team has a difficult task on its hands, taking as a new client. Sam Antar sent KPMG an open letter giving the firm some advice:

I believe that you should cut your potential exposure and resign. Some clients are simply not worth the risk. Since I don’t believe that you will resign, I feel that I owe you some advice just for old time’s sake to avoid another audit meltdown similar to what happened at Crazy Eddie.

However, I have my doubts that any firm can properly audit given its apparent lack of effective internal controls, its management integrity issues, and its continued willingness to violate GAAP and SEC disclosure rules.

There’s no way to be certain how all this will work out. Maybe KPMG will solve all of Overstock’s problems and everything will be fine and dandy. Regardless, we’ll be watching.
At SEC, a Scholar Who Saw It Coming [WSJ]
Henry Hu will head the new Division of Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation at the SEC. Mary Schapiro found this latest member of the Commission’s dream team in a somewhat unorthodox fashion:

In a Wall Street Journal opinion article in April 2009–which Ms. Schapiro says prompted the job offer from the SEC–Mr. Hu suggested Goldman Sachs Group Inc. used a kind of derivative called a credit default swap to turn itself into an empty creditor of AIG. He wrote that this may have encouraged Goldman to push for extra collateral from AIG, even when that threatened AIG’s existence.

The Journal reports that Mr. Hu wrote an article in 1993 warning about derivatives so while there would be an urge to chide the SEC for ignoring warning signs but we’re used to that.

Posted in ANR