IRS EMPLOYEES ABUSE PHONE CARDS

Washington, D.C. - Employees at the Internal Revenue Service are running up millions of dollars in charges on agency-issued telephone calling cards with little control over their spending. A new report by the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration found that IRS employees spent $8.4 million between October 2005 and April 2008 on calling card charges. As of February 2008, the IRS had issued approximately 34,000 telephone calling cards to its employees. The TIGTA report found that the IRS had not established effective controls over waste, fraud and abuse.

RESTATEMENTS DROP TO FIVE-YEAR LOW

San Francisco - Financial restatements in 2008 dipped 49 percent from the prior year - the lowest level in five years, according to a report compiled by proxy researcher Glass Lewis, which examined 172 listed companies with market values of at least $250 million. Those companies filed a total of 185 restatements, versus 361 in 2007.

The report attributed the 2008 decline to a number of recently completed compliance overhauls at many of the larger companies, which resulted in fewer errors in reporting.

Other findings included:

* Services and technology companies restated the most;

* Smaller companies restated more often than larger ones;

* The most commonly corrected errors were expense recognition, misclassifications and taxes; and,

* Among the Big Four Firms, Deloitte had the highest rate of restatements, with 10 percent.

GEITHNER ASKS FOR BROADER TAKEOVER POWERS

Washington, D.C. - In a recent hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner asked lawmakers to grant the Treasury Department more power to seize failing financial firms. Currently the government's takeover power is limited to banks. The broader seizure power would also include large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, and would require Congress' approval.

"The United States government does not have the legal means today to manage the orderly restructuring of a large, complex, non-bank financial institution that poses a threat to the stability of our financial system," Geithner said.

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