Corporate Accountability: Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002: (P.L. 107-204)

Publication Date: August 2002

Publisher: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service


Research Area: Banking and finance



On July 30, 2002, President Bush signed into law the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, P.L. 107-204. This law has been described by some as the most important and far-reaching securities legislation since passage of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. §§ 77a et seq., and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78a et seq., both of which were passed in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929.

The Act establishes a new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board which is to be supervised by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Act restricts accounting firms from performing a number of other services for the companies which they audit. The Act also requires new disclosures for public companies and the officers and directors of those companies. Among the other issues affected by the new legislation are securities fraud, criminal and civil penalties for violating the securities laws and other laws, blackouts for insider trades of pension fund shares, and protections for corporate whistleblowers.

This report will not be updated.