Crusader Ralph Nader Takes on Accounting Profession

Since 1965, activist Ralph Nader has addressed a range of issues, including consumer safety and product liability protection. Now, in the wake of recent corporate scandals, Mr. Nader has turned his attention to the accounting profession, which he says has been hijacked by overwhelming corporate pressures.

Citizen Works, a nonprofit organization founded by Mr. Nader in 2001, announced yesterday that it has formed a new public interest accounting group, the Association for Integrity in Accounting (AIA). The group’s 17 members include professors and accounting professionals from around the world.

Mr. Nader stated that the purpose of the AIA is to restore integrity to the accounting profession and to remind the profession of its public interest duty. The association will act as a watchdog, evaluating the activities of regulatory boards and the Security and Exchange Commission’s new oversight committee. In addition, the association will provide an independent forum to discuss critical accounting and auditing issues.

As part of the founding conference held last weekend in Washington, D.C., the group recommended the elimination of the Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

The association will focus on four areas: watching the watchdogs; restoring professional independence; assuring corporate accountability and disclosure; and redeeming accounting education.