bigger than enron
Why the largest business scandal in American history is just the tip of the iceberg  and why investors should care.
introduction who dropped the ball?  A primer on corporate watchdogs, conflicts of interest, and the new reforms on the table.
questions investors need to ask: An excerpt from the new book How Companies Lie. Plus, useful links for investors.

With a commentary by correspondent Hedrick Smith.

accounting lessons

Harvey Pitt, Arthur Levitt, Paul Volcker, Joseph Berardino, and others, on lessons learned from Enron and Andersen.

the politics of enron

David Brooks of The Weekly Standard and Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect debate the political fallout, or lack of it.

congress and the accounting wars

During the 90s, the Big Five flexed its political muscle as never before. Here's a look at three major battles of the decade.

interviewsjoin the discussionproducer's chat
tapes & transcriptspress reactioncreditsprivacy policy

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introduction + lessons + politics of enron + accounting wars + watchdogs
questions for investors + interviews + discussion + correspondent's chat + tapes + transcripts
press reaction + credits + privacy policy + FRONTLINE + wgbh + pbsi

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Bigger Than Enron

The meteoric rise and stunning collapse of Enron caused many to question why the watchdog system that was supposed to protect investors failed to sound any alarms about the company's dubious financial underpinnings. But Enron and its auditor, Arthur Andersen, are the tip of the iceberg. In the late 1990s, Enron was just one of the more than 400 corporations forced to dramatically restate their value because of accounting lapses, failures, or fraud. What went wrong? Through interviews with SEC officials, corporate executives, members of Congress, and investor advocates, FRONTLINE examines an oversight system gone soft and explores how market deregulation and conflicts of interest between accountants and the companies they were auditing eroded the system of controls designed to protect stockholders from investment fraud.

published june 2002