Washington (Oct. 10, 2002) -- Democratic leaders have again called on President Bush to boot Securities and Exchange Commission Harvey Pitt from his post according to an Associated Press report.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D.-Mo., allege that the accounting industry continues to wield considerable influence on Pitt, citing his reported withdrawal of support for the candidacy of John Biggs to head the new accounting oversight board.

At a news conference on Social Security, Daschle said, "Mr. Pitt is "giving the accounting industry a veto over who will head the new board. This is exactly the kind of abuse the new board was created to prevent."

Pitt at first supported Biggs, chairman at pension services giant TIAA-CREF, to fill the chairman’s slot on the new five-member Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. However, when several GOP leaders and the accounting industry lobby protested the selection of Biggs – an outspoken proponent of accounting reform — Pitt reportedly wavered in his support of Biggs. Pitt has denied press reports regarding his agency’s waffling on support of Biggs.

Earlier this year, some key Senate members including Daschle and Arizona Republican John McCain called for Pitt’s resignation claiming he was far from impartial to the industry he once represented as a private securities lawyer.

Pitt also came under fire for meeting with the heads of several accounting firms whose audit clients were under investigation by his agency.

--Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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