Amidst controversy over a 1990 stock sale and demands from top lawmakers that Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Harvey Pitt resign, President Bush called for a new ethic of responsibility in a speech in New York. He asked for more integrity from company chiefs, urged lawmakers to increase funding for the SEC, and was to sign an executive order establishing a Corporate Fraud Task Force. Bush also suggested stricter sentencing for mail fraud and demanded that corporate accounting "move out of the shadows."
The economy, investor confidence, and corporate governance, are among issues Treasury Secretary O'Neill are expected to address today before the US Chamber of Commerce. Recent polls show that Americans are nervous about the future of the economy. About 60 percent of those polled claimed that corporate scandals have made them less likely to invest in the stock market. A similar percentage said Bush is not doing enough to boost the economy.
Officials from key law-enforcement agencies urged members of Congress to keep the organizations intact when they become part of the new Homeland Security Department. Some lawmakers have suggested splitting the agencies up to ensure that nonsecurity duties are not shortchanged as a result of the move to the new department. The Customs Service, Coast Guard, Secret Service, and the Transportation Security Administration claim that their respective duties are intertwined and that the agencies must remain whole.
Nine Texas residents have died in some of the worst flooding in the states' history. Gov. Rick Perry (R) said economic losses could top $1 billion. Flood- waters were still rising in some areas, and forcasters worried that that a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico could bring more storms in the coming days. More than 30 inches of rain have fallen in the past week. Federal aid has been promised for a number of counties in the San Antonio area.
Major League Baseball's best gathered for the annual All-Star Game in Milwakee amid controversy regarding a potential work stoppage and steroid use by some players. Their union warned that a strike date could be set for sometime between Aug.15 and Sept. 30 if a new labor agreement is not signed. A late-season strike could threaten the post-season playoffs and even the World Series.