Former U.S. Senator Sarbanes Joins COMMIT!Forum Debate

Oxford-style Debate: Corporate Transparency and Disclosure Requirements Have Done More Harm Than Good

Sep 05, 2012, 09:00 ET from COMMIT!Forum

EDISON, N.J., Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On the 10th anniversary of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the COMMIT!Forum will weigh the impact of its corporate transparency and disclosure requirements. The Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush on July 30, 2002, passed the Senate ninety-nine to zero and the House of Representatives 423 to three.  The 2012 COMMIT!Forum will convene renowned political, corporate and NGO leaders to get to the heart of this issue in an Oxford-style debate on whether corporate transparency and disclosure requirements have done more harm than good.  The debate will be held at 9:00 am on October 3rd at the Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, and will feature Paul Sarbanes, former U.S. Senator and co-author of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, who led the charge to reform the accounting and auditing industries in 2002.

"The COMMIT!Forum will provide a voice to supporters of mandated disclosures as well as to its adversaries," said  Sarbanes. "Together, policy makers and business leaders will discuss whether the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has been successful in restoring equity and professionalism to the accounting and auditing industries or if it was simply a regulatory effort which harmed the industry with unnecessary costs."

The audience at the Forum includes heads of corporate responsibility, sustainability officers, investment analysts, NGO and government leaders, and academics. Attendees  will listen to the debate as they consider how effective the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has been over the past ten years. The debate teams will include:

Pro-Team: (upholding the value of mandated disclosure)
* Former U.S. Senator, Paul Sarbanes, Co-Sponsor of the Landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act on Corporate Disclosure & Transparency
* Lauralee E. Martin, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Jones Lang LaSalle

* Mark A. Calabria Ph.D., Director of Financial Regulation Studies, Cato Institute
* John A. Allison, Retired Chairman and CEO, BB&T Corporation

Companies have generally supported the Sarbanes-Oxley Act's intentions, but complying with Section 404 of the law has often been cited as being costly. COMMIT!Forum speakers and participants will try to find answers to such hotly contested topics such as whether accounting practices and investor confidence have improved and justified the cost of compliance, and also whether the Act has limited or increased employment opportunities since 2002.

"The general public applauds transparency and honesty," said Forum Chairman Richard Crespin. "However, it's still up for debate whether the act went far enough – or too far in an effort to improve compliance efforts. As Congress continues to consider modifications to the Act, we want to bring together the world's best companies, NGOs, and government leaders at the COMMIT!Forum  to openly discuss whether corporate transparency requirements have indeed helped the industry."

The COMMIT!Forum will engage over 700  attendees who are concerned about key societal, political, and economic issues. The complete COMMIT!Forum agenda can be found at

For information on the speakers

Pre-conference meetings, workshops and other events will also be hosted by select partners including AT&T, BrownFlynn, CSRwire, Deloitte, Green Living Project, and State Street. Other partners include Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), ASQ, Better Business Bureau of New York, Business Council on Climate Change, Centre for Sustainability and Excellence, Fortune Magazine, the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools, Corporate Secretary Magazine, Entrepreneurs Foundation, Fortune, the G&A Institute, the Institute for Supply Management, and the Sustainability Summit & Exposition.

Confirmed sponsors of the Forum include Adecco MSP, AHA!, Allegis Talent2, AT&T, BrownFlynn, Corporate Voices for Working Families, Deloitte, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, GREIF, Guidant Group, MGM Resorts International, Mosaic, Staff Management|SMX, and State Street.

About the COMMIT!Forum
The COMMIT!Forum, calls on people to make commitments that will change the world. How? By inspiring, educating, and engaging them in ways that prepare them to make the commitments necessary to change themselves and their organizations. The path to COMMIT, which began on April 17th at the New York Stock Exchange with the announcement of CR Magazine's 13th Annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens, culminates October 2-3 in New York City at the Forum and continues well beyond through commitments people make there.   

About CR Magazine
CR Magazine is the voice of the corporate responsibility profession covering case studies, best practices, and trends in the five primary segments of the CR profession: a) governance, risk, compliance, b) environmental sustainability c) corporate social responsibility, d) philanthropy, and e) workforce/diversity.