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Editorial: Letter to the Editor

July 6, 2011
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Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

As a corporate and securities law counselor to companies large and small for the past three decades, I take exception to remarks that Mark W. Everson, the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, volunteered to The New York Times. I reference his opinion piece with the insulting headline “Lawyers and Accountants Once Put Integrity First,” which was published by the Times on Sunday, June 19, 2011 (Week in Review, p. 8).

That Father’s Day column drew on Mr. Everson’s recollection of his father’s career as a Wall Street attorney and his own experiences as an accountant with a Big Eight firm leading to his stint as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service under George W. Bush.

Recounting how honorable his father and he had been, and suggesting that lawyers and accountants in years gone by never “expected to get rich,” Mr. Everson lambasted both groups of professionals with the broadside that “[l]awyers and accountants who were once the proud pillars of our financial system have become the happy architects of its circumvention.”

As a remedy, he suggests that corporations should be stripped of their attorney-client privilege for discussions with their attorneys about “commercial transactions and financings and even government-mandated filings and disclosures...” Thus, in the span of two column inches, Mr. Everson suggests laying waste to a bedrock common law evidentiary principle that is grounded on sound policy, while suggesting that somehow he is opening up a “healthy” debate on a “can of worms.”

Further, his remarks seem to support the assignment to lawyers of a public “gatekeeper” role that, although increasingly suggested by Securities and Exchange Commission staff and others in speeches since the Enron debacle, is also not well grounded in the law or sound policy.

His conclusion is “[w]e should look at all the moving parts in our financial system – starting with the outside professionals – not just Wall Street and Washington.” Maybe he means Indiana?

I’ll let the accountants express their own outrage.

Maybe Mr. Everson is unaware that the subjects that he has so cavalierly addressed are the subjects of much regulatory, congressional, and scholarly debate, much of it triggered by the fallout from Enron, and the fallout of which included the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and sweeping changes affecting auditors and lawyers for public companies. He’s about a decade late.

I am proud of the professionalism of the lawyers (and accountants) who assist the businesses of this state in attempting always to comply with their legal obligations with integrity, and find Mr. Everson’s piece of drivel to be an embarrassment to this state and the public administration of which he serves. He’s entitled, of course, to express his opinion, but better for him to do so as John Q. Citizen and not as a member of the cabinet of Gov. Daniels.•

Sincerely,

Mark B. Barnes
Mark Barnes Law PC
Indianapolis

 

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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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