WASHINGTON (CNNfn) - Current and former directors of bankrupt Enron Corp. told Congress that they too were victims of bad information from company accountants and management.
The hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations focused on the culpability of the Enron board of directors in the former energy giant's collapse.
John Duncan, former chairman of the board's executive committee, asserted that key financial information had been withheld from the board. "I do not believe that Enron's fall would have been avoided had the board asked more questions," Duncan testified.
Norman Blake, interim chairman of the Enron board, insisted he and his colleagues did question management and did not rubber stamp management's recommendations and requests. "Unfortunately," said Blake, "I believe that we were uninformed because management and outside experts who reported to us failed to do their jobs and give us full, complete information."
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The chairman of the Senate panel, Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, bluntly told the board members that he didn't buy their explanations. "The board relinquished its role of questioner and adopted the role of facilitator. It succumbed to the Enron ether of invincibility, superiority and gamesmanship," Levin asserted.
Levin has introduced legislation to instruct the Securities and Exchange Commission to establish regulations governing the extent of accounting oversight expected of corporate boards.