Becky Quick shares in the latest Fortune magazine former Republican congressman Mike Oxley’s assessment of the long-term impact of the much-derided Sarbanes-Oxley legislation he co-authored with a Democratic senator a decade ago.
His surprising regret? “I would have initially had more of a scaled-down provision that would have treated smaller companies different from the larger, Fortune 500 companies.”
It’s a stunning about-face. One of the biggest criticisms of Sarbox is that it initially costs small businesses far more than expected to implement. Newspapers chronicled stories of companies that opted to go private rather than comply with the regulations. One study found that in the first few years after it was enacted, Sarbox jacked up compliance costs for small companies by 130%. But getting an elected official to admit his law had unintended consequences? That’s not something that happens every day.
What price has Oxley paid for his error? Surely, you jest. He’s worked for a D.C. law firm since retiring from Congress in 2007.