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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 28, 2002
President Bush: Corrupt Corporate Executives Will be Held Accountable
Excerpt from June 28, 2002 speech
I think we've got the right fiscal policy in place, the right monetary policy, seems like it's good. People are concerned, however, about whether or not the balance sheets of corporate America are open, whether or not the numbers are real.
Let me tell you how strongly I feel about this. I believe if somebody is running a corporation, if somebody has got responsibilities to shareholders and employees, they have the responsibility to be aboveboard at all times, to be frank and honest with all numbers. (Applause.)
We can have all kinds of rules, and we will. I laid out some initiatives in March of this year that will hold people accountable. And our Justice Department will hold people accountable.
But corporate America has got to understand there's a higher calling than trying to fudge the numbers, trying to slip a billion here or a billion there and may hope nobody notices -- that you have a responsibility in this country to always be aboveboard.
We expect high standards in our schools, we expect high standards in corporate America as well. And I intend to enforce the law to make sure that there are high standards. (Applause.)
It is important for our fellow citizens to understand that the foundation for economic growth is strong in America, that our free enterprise system is strong, vibrant, that there's a lot of entrepreneurship that takes place across the country.
And it's important for our fellow citizens to understand that, by far, the vast majority of our leaders in the business community are honest and upright people. That's important for them to hear.
Just as important for them to hear when we catch people doing wrong, there will be consequences for those who have done wrong.