Congressional Black Caucus Pushes for PCAOB Chair Candidate

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Aug 6, 2021
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The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), in a recent letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), urged the agency to select Washington law firm partner Erica Williams, who served as chief of staff to three chairs, as the new head of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), Bloomberg reported.

The CBC acknowledged that it was a rare move for them to comment on the proceedings of the auditing regulator, but the lawmakers said that the board could benefit from Williams as chair, as she is likely to understand that many new investors in public companies are often no-traditional investors, many of them Black, women or other traditionally marginalized communities. 

The previous chair of the PCAOB, William Duhnke, was removed in June along with the entire rest of the board. The SEC gave no reason for the removal, but it came on the heels of a group of progressive organizations sending a letter to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, calling for him to clean house and remove the entire board, followed by a letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) calling for the same. Both letters argued that the board overall had strayed from its purpose, saying that there had been a collapse in enforcement action, a weakening of auditing standards and a dearth of outside engagement due to the shuttering of important advisory bodies. The senators' letter also mentioned the departure of senior staff, and an overall "sense of fear" that had taken hold in the organization, largely due to the chairman. 

Besides Williams, other names being considered for the chair position include Kara Stein, a former Democratic SEC commissioner, and Martin Gruenberg, a Democrat on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board. 

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