Washington (May 1, 2003) -- During their spring meeting this week, members of the American Institute of CPAs ruling Council okayed measures to beef up the institute's disciplinary processes, including a measure to automatically sanction members.

Council gave the green light to a proposal that would allow the Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) to automatically sanction an AICPA member without an investigation if the member is disciplined by a governmental agency or other organization with the authority to regulate accountants, like the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Under the proposal, members and the PEEC would both have the right to appeal automatic discipline. The measure still needs approval by the general membership. Under AICPA bylaws, a vote must take place within 180 days of Council's approval.

PEEC chair Jim Curry said the measure would eliminate duplicative investigations and significantly reduce the number of cases in litigation deferral.

Council okayed a second proposal to expand transparency by allowing the PEEC to disclose more information about its investigations, including disclosure of the results of an investigation to a complainant, and in cases where it determined that the member was acting on a firm or company's behalf, the name of the firm or company. Actions against members are currently only published in The CPA Letter and on the AICPA Web site. That measure also requires approval by the membership. Council also approved a proposal, effective immediately, to allow the PEEC to publicly admonish a member who has violated the Code of Professional Conduct.

-- Melissa Klein

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