Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Highly Motivated

When details emerged about Arthur Andersen's role in the Enron scandal, the accounting/consulting firm responded by saying that a rogue partner, David Duncan, was solely responsible. Yesterday, Mr. Duncan pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors hunting for higher-ups. To say that Mr. Duncan is "highly motivated" to assist the feds would be something of an understatement. Something large.

The notion that Mr. Duncan was solely responsible for Andersen's disgraceful conduct in the Enron matter was a non-starter from the get-go. No professional services firm works that way (you just go out there and break the law and we'll give you a bonus). The fact that Andersen tried to sell this story through Congress and the news media is yet more evidence of the firm's utter cluelessness. And now the guy they turned on will be in a position to sink the enterprise.