A letter drafted by technology sector lobbyists is making its way through Congress asking lawmakers for support in their battle against expensing stock options. The letter, which is scheduled to arrive on the desk of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson on Monday, Feb. 14, requests that the regulator delay the June 15, 2005, implementation date, and recommends that the agency conduct an impact study on options expensing. The letter, of which WebCPA received a copy, specifically exhorts the regulator to: o Field test valuation methods "to ensure the methods imposed on all public and private companies make sense and not adversely affect our nation's economy." o Conduct, along with the Labor and Commerce Departments, "a comprehensive impact study before any standard is implemented. There is little doubt that the economic, labor and global competitiveness impact of stock option expensing could be severe." A representative for TechNet -- a bipartisan network of technology sector chief executives who represent more than one million employees -- said that he was aware of the letter, but that the group was not the one behind it. "The SEC has to realize that 14 million people own stock options, so it's not just for top executives. It's a much larger issue than that." In July, House lawmakers overwhelmingly passed their own stock option bill, H.R. 3574, which mandates expensing options only for a company's top five executives.
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