July 13, 2002

White House will not allow SEC documents about Harken Oil to be released

Associated Press
Originally published July 12, 2002

WASHINGTON - The White House defended yesterday President Bush's low-interest loans of $180,000 from a Texas oil company where he was a director, a type of loan that Bush now wants to ban as part of a crackdown on corporate wrongdoing.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that such loan programs across corporate America began as an incentive for officers to work harder for their companies.

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SEC Chairman Pitt A Potential Liability To Administration
Bush Defends Regulator From Critics

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 11, 2002; Page A06

While President Bush was delivering his long-awaited speech on corporate governance Tuesday, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey L. Pitt was exactly where many Bush aides wanted him to be: on a week-long beach vacation.

"We were not surprised that the chairman was not included in administration plans for public appearances," SEC spokeswoman Christi Harlan said. "The commission is an independent agency."

White House officials, though calling it a coincidence, acknowledged they had no desire for Pitt's presence.

The arms-length treatment of Pitt underscores a dilemma for Bush and his radioactive SEC chairman. Many Democrats and even a few Republicans have called for Pitt's resignation because of his alleged conflicts of interest and ties to the accounting industry.

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