Statement at an Open Meeting of the Commission to Consider the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s Proposed 2013 Budget and Accounting Support Fee
Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
February 13, 2013
As has been noted, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that the Securities and Exchange Commission approve the PCAOB’s budget and accounting support fee. In addition we are charged with the general oversight of the PCAOB, a responsibility that I take very seriously.
And, as I noted last year, although it would have been possible to approve the Board’s annual budget and accounting support fee in a non-public process, I do not believe that would have been appropriate. I am glad that we are again this year — this time under Chairman Walter — taking the time to hold this open meeting.
Because Congress provided that the Board should be funded primarily through an accounting support fee, the congressional appropriations process — the process by which the Congress oversees and funds the SEC and many other Government departments and agencies — does not apply and so cannot constrain the Board’s budget or guide the various activities it funds. Congress has required that the Commission do that in Congress’s stead.
By statute, it is the Commission that approves the accounting support fee to fund the Board, and the budget for the activities that fee will fund. It is, therefore, the Commission’s responsibility to ensure that the Board raises and spends its funds in the best interest of the investing public and, thereby, that of accounting profession as a whole. After all, PCAOB support fees, like many other regulatory fees, are ultimately paid by investors.
Accordingly, I believe it is important that the Commission exercise its approval authority in the uniquely public manner that an open meeting affords us.
Having reached the end of its review process for the PCAOB’s 2013 budget, the Commission’s staff, represented this morning by the Office of the Chief Accountant, recommends that the Commission approve the Board’s budget — and I am pleased once again to be able to play my part in doing so.
Nevertheless, consistent with the responsibility Congress has vested in us, I want to join my colleagues in raising a few questions, which I will direct to Chairman Doty or Paul Beswick, our Chief Accountant, as appropriate.
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