While federal regulations in the wake of corporate scandals like Enron and Worldcom required audit committees to be solely composed of independent directors, a new study in the American Accounting Association journal The Accounting Review found almost 40 percent of studied companies have committee members with social ties to the CEO.

On average, nearly half of the audit committee members in those 40 percent of companies have these relationships—“friendships involving voluntary, non-professional activities,” according to the study of approximately 2,000 U.S. companies.

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