Levitt Takes on Accountants in Las Vegas Showdown

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The casino city of Las Vegas, Nevada, today hosts a heavyweight confrontation between the main adversaries in the battle of auditor independence as Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt takes on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Crusading chairman Levitt has made auditor independence the cornerstone of his term of office, which could come to an end if George W. Bush wins the presidential election in November. After a series of public hearings in Washington DC and New York over the past few months, Levitt will deliver an address to the AICPA's annual members meeting at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.

For all his tough talk, Levitt sent a letter last week pleading with Congress not to interfere with his proposed new rules on independence, which would limit the non-audit services auditors could offer their clients.

The AICPA has staunchly defended its position that the proposed auditor independence guidelines are detrimental to the accounting profession.

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