Jonathan G. Katz
Securities and Exchange Commission
Re: File No. S7-16-98
Dear Mr. Katz:
The SECs proposed amendment to Rule 102(e) of it Rules of Practice is unreasonable in its expansion of enforcement powers directed against accountants in public and private practice. It is unfair that the accounting profession should be held to a higher standard than the attorneys and other professionals who practice before the SEC. After all most companies consult with an attorney on their disclosures for public filings.
I agree with the AICPA that a simple act of negligence should ever constitute "improper professional conduct" for purposes of Rule 102(e). We are all forced to make judgements in the performance of our jobs. It is not possible to perform our jobs without making decisions based on rules which are at best "fuzzy". We should not be held to a standard that subjects us to hindsight interpretation of some obscure rule.
I encourage you to reconsider your proposed rule and to adopt the rule as proposed by the AICPA.
Kenneth A. Olson
Berry Petroleum Company