South-Western - Management  
Bush Seeks New Business Ethic
Topic Ethics and Social Responsibility
Key Words ethics, government
News Story

Confronting the accounting scandals that have crippled investor confidence, President Bush called for a crackdown on corporate wrongdoing, saying the nation's economy and financial systems depend on it. Some of the proposals made were:

  • Don't make assumptions about a person's willingness to go, and keep asking even if the answer is no the first time.
  • Lengthen jail time for criminal fraud by corporate officers and directors, doubling the maximum jail term for mail and wire fraud to 10 years
  • Toughening laws criminalizing corporate document shredding
  • Preventing corporate officers from receiving company loans
  • Creation of a Corporate Fraud Task Force to manage fraud investigations and prosecution and coordinate enforcement activities between agencies
  • $20 million boost to the SEC's budget this year and $100 million more for 2003 to hire new officers and improve technology
  • CEOs and business schools should set a tone for others
  • Wall Street analysts should be trusted advisors instead of salespeople
  • Executives should be forced to return money they gain from fraud and rule-breakers should be banned from future leadership positions
  • An independent regulatory board to oversee the accounting profession
  • Companies need to move beyond minimum standards when making their financial reports

Define ethical behavior. Do you believe the changes proposed by Bush will have an impact on corporate ethics, or is it just political rhetoric? Explain your answer.


Is it the government's place to make rules for and monitor ethics in the workplace, or it is the responsibility of the company itself? Refer to the proposals Bush made in your answer.


Some feel that Bush's selling of stock when he was a director at Harken Energy Corp. has tarnished his ability to be credible when discussing corporate reform. What do you think?

Source Mark Gongloff, "Bush Seeks New Business Ethic," Money July 9, 2002.
Instructor Discussion Notes Discussion Notes
These notes are restricted to qualified instructors only. Register for free!

Return to the Ethics and Social Responsibility Index

©2003  South-Western.  All Rights Reserved     |