The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Media Affairs
June 26, 2002

President Promises Worldcom Investigation

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Excerpts from President Bush and Prime Minister Blair press release

President Bush: I am deeply concerned about some of the accounting practices that take place in America. Today the revelations that Worldcom has misaccounted $3.4 billion is outrageous. We will fully investigate and hold people accountable for misleading not only shareholders, but employees, as well.

There is a need for a renewed corporate responsibility in America. Those entrusted with shareholders' money must -- must -- strive for the highest of high standards. The good news is most corporate leaders in America are good, honest, open people who care deeply about shareholders and employees. And our economy is strong.

When we find egregious practices, such as the one revealed today, we'll go after them. And need to.

Question from reporter: Do you believe that there is a crisis in confidence among the American people, vis a vis the economy, and particularly the stock market in view of yet another failure of an American corporation?

THE PRESIDENT: Let me answer the second question first. The market isn't as strong as it should be for three reasons. One, corporate profits. There's no question some sectors of our economy are recovering from the slow-down, but they'll recover.

Secondly, there are still some concerns as to whether or not the United States and our friends and allies will be able to prevent further terrorist attack. In other words, there's some concerns about the capacity of the enemy to hit us again. And I want to assure American investors and our friends that we're doing everything we possibly can -- the government is on full alert, attempting to run down every hint and every lead.

And, thirdly, there are some concerns about the validity of the balance sheets of corporate America -- and I can understand why. We've had too many cases of people abusing their responsibilities. And people just need to know that the SEC is on it, our government is on it -- after all, Arthur Andersen has been prosecuted. We will pursue within the full -- within our laws those who are irresponsible.

Having said that, I do believe the economy is strong and I know that most people that run businesses in America are aboveboard, honest, care deeply about their employees and their shareholders.

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