While many corporate executives are publicly expressing their outrage over the soaring costs of complying with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, they may be consoled by the fact that the 2002 law seems to be having at least one intended consequence.

The tough new governance rules mean that fewer executives will be able to successfully use the clueless defense -- espoused in many recent, high-profile accounting scandals -- when it comes to laying blame for wrongdoing in corporate America.

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