The Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously approved the 2005 budget for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which requested $137 million for the body charged with policing the accounting profession. Initially, the board submitted a 2005 budget request of $152.5 million, a dramatic increase from the $103 million it had been allocated in 2004. However, when its hiring goals for 2004 fell short, it slashed that request by roughly 15 percent. The SEC approval, however, did not come without controversy, as two commissioners -- Paul Atkins and Cynthia Glassman -- reportedly ignored the objections of their boss, SEC Chairman William Donaldson, and extended an invitation to PCAOB Chairman William McDonough to attend the budget meeting. An invitation was also extended to Robert Herz, chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Neither attended the meeting. Last year's approval of the PCAOB budget had been done behind closed doors.

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