The Treasury Department has created a committee to study problems in the accounting profession - and in something of an unexpected move, former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Arthur Levitt was selected to lead the effort, along with former SEC chief accountant Donald Nicolaisen.

Levitt, who headed up the SEC under President Bill Clinton, has spoken out loudly on a number of accounting issues, most recently criticizing proposals that would limit the rights of investors to sue. Nicolaisen, a long-time partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, left the SEC last summer and now sits on several corporate boards.

The committee is expected to take about a year to study topics such as the concentration of the Big Four and their exposure to shareholder lawsuits. The panel, whose other members have yet to be chosen, will begin its work in the fall.

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