September 24, 2022

FTC

Herbalife is Having the Worst Wednesday Right Now

Well no one saw that coming, eh? Herbalife (HLF) announced it received today a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  In response, Herbalife issued the following statement: Herbalife welcomes the inquiry given the tremendous amount of misinformation in the marketplace, and will cooperate fully with the FTC.  We are confident that […]

The “Red Flags” Rule is Still Useless for CPAs

In more government bureaucracy news, the FTC is granting a reprieve to CPAs when it comes to a new law that deals with identity theft, one which some CPAs say is useless given professional responsibility.

The new FTC rules requires businesses to “develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs to help identify, detect and respond to patterns, practices or specific activities -– known as ‘red flags’ — that could indicate identity theft.” The problem with that, of course, is that the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct already deals with the issue of identity theft in that there is an iron-clad confidentiality rule by which all CPAs must abide. Seems simple, right?


The US District Court has ordered an FTC delay of the rule for AICPA members in public practice, says the Maryland Association of CPAs. Barry Melancon, AICPA President said in 2009 when the AICPA filed a lawsuit against the FTC, “We do not believe that there is any reasonably foreseeable risk of identity theft when CPA clients are billed for services rendered. As trusted advisors, CPAs are personally acquainted with their clients and already adhere to strict privacy requirements governing identifying information.”

Don’t take it personal, Barry, the FTC is just trying to do its job, even if that means overreaching its authority and attempting to place restrictions on professionals who already go above and beyond the intent of the FTC on a daily basis.

In the meantime – and just in case the rule cannot be delayed indefinitely (as is, implementation has been put off until June 1, 2010) – the AICPA has some guidance for CPAs on creating an identity theft prevention program. Keep in mind the new requirements, if implemented, only affect CPAs who bill their clients on a monthly or revolving basis as it is meant to place additional controls in client billing.

The American Bar Association is also fighting the rule.

Another ‘Red Flags’ delay: CPAs get 90 more days [CPA Success]

Can the FTC Even Deliver on Newspaper Bailout Promises?

newspaper-pages.jpgEditor’s Note: Want more JDA? You can see all of her posts for GC here, her blog here and stalk her on Twitter.
For months there has been the underlying hum of a newspaper bailout in the air – not much surprise there given dropping subscriber numbers and dwindling ad revenues. But in lieu of an actual bailout (i.e. a check from the Treasury), how about some tax breaks and anti-trust waivers?
NY Mag:

At a workshop on the the [sic] future of journalism yesterday, the head of the Federal Trade Commission said the agency is studying ways to help struggling media companies struggle a little less. What might this help look like? It could come in the form of new anti-trust laws, tax breaks, government subsides [sic] or even changes to copyright law.

Well if “journalism” involves rampant copy errors like that, we’re more screwed than it appears.
Tax breaks for mainstream media? Why? I’m a fringe journalist and I still have to pay my taxes, if I don’t bother to tailor my content to my audience to the point that it draws enough ad revenue to pay my bills, maybe I don’t deserve to eat that week.
It gets better.
Rupert Murdoch has long fought Internet news aggregation and would love to see a pay-per-view program for news that — holy shit! — might actually save news. Where do you get yours from? Would you pay for it?
In recent comments, he basically called every blogger who has ever clipped a news article a thief, including Arianna Huffington. You may have heard of her.
Fine, charge for it. I’d pay if it was worth paying for. Would you pay for the recent CNN article that said the Big 87654 ended with more employees than they started with? Me neither.
Point being, Murdoch would rather see news sites charging than peddling for a bailout. I don’t seem to recall major media outlets begging for any bailouts recently, which naturally inspires a healthy skepticism towards the FTC’s comments.
Has the FTC checked this proposed mainstream media bailout “tax break” with the Treasury? Because if I heard correctly, we have $30 billion to put towards Afghanistan now, not to mention the fact that the FDIC is broke and Citigroup is probably going to need a Dubai backstop. I’m not sure if Timmy would be okay with this, better ask him first.