NYSSCPA Board Approves Antitrust Policy
By Simon Eskow

NEW YORK -- The New York State Society of CPAs Board of Directors has approved a policy on antitrust compliance.

The policy, approved during the board's Sept. 25 meeting, prohibits Society activities or discussions that might be construed as tending to raise, lower or stabilize prices; regulate production; encourage boycotts; allocate markets; assist in monopolization; or otherwise foster unfair trade practices and antitrust violations. The policy applies to all Society members, leadership and staff, and provides for discipline up to the termination of membership, leadership position or employment.

The policy requires all board, executive committee and other membership meetings to be conducted pursuant to advance agendas, and prohibits the conduct of substantive Society business except at official meetings. The new policy requires minutes to be distributed promptly to attendees, and prevents Society leaders and members from making any representations of official Society policy or position without specific authorization.

Like other professional associations, the Society provides its members with opportunities to gather together to better themselves and their profession in general. But associations by their very nature bring competitors and potential competitors together, thus making members particularly vulnerable to antitrust violations. Whether professional associations should be viewed as potential "walking conspiracies," as some antitrust scholars have argued, is debatable. Association activities, however, can and do occasionally provide a venue for antitrust violations.

See the December issue of The Trusted Professional for more background information on the antitrust policy.

Questions regarding the new policy should be addressed to the Society's legal counsel, James A. Woehlke, who is charged with supervising compliance with this policy. He can be reached at jwoehlke@nysscpa.org.

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