This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, June 26, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Congressman Bernie Sanders of Vermont has had enough of these corporate shenanigans, like WorldCom. Too many, too fast, too much. He joins us now from Capitol Hill with more. Congressman, always a pleasure.
REP. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VERMONT: Hi, Neil. How are you?
CAVUTO: What should we do about this?
SANDERS: I think there is a real crisis in confidence among the American people now what's going on in corporate America. I think people don't trust corporate America anymore. What they are seeing is CEOs getting huge unfair compensation packages, driving up their stock options by manipulating accounting procedures, starting phony postal box companies in Bermuda, throwing American workers on the street as they move to China.
CAVUTO: So what would you do?
SANDERS: Well, there's a dozen things that you have to do. I mean, easy things like accounting principles. No, accounting companies should not be able to audit and get consulting fees. No, we should not be giving over $100 billion a year in corporate welfare to the largest corporations in this country who run China and Mexico. No, we should not be allowing CEOs to manipulate the situation to drive their stock options up and at the same time damaging their companies severely and laying off American workers.
To answer your question, ultimately, the American people, and I think the stock market is reflecting that, are extremely concerned, I think, about the banditry, the greed, the lack of patriotism that we're seeing in corporate America. And things have got to be done.
CAVUTO: Congressman, I would be remiss if I didn't digress a little bit here. We are expecting word from Ari Fleischer any second right now on -- responding to this court decision that essentially made the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. What do you think of that decision?
SANDERS: I am the first to hear about it. I don't know anything about that.
CAVUTO: OK. But the fact that the court could rule on something like that. Does it disturb you at all.
SANDERS: Well, it's a conservative court. That might be interesting. But the issue of the day here, Neil, and what does concern me is the lack of patriotism that we are seeing in corporate America, especially after 9/11. And I think the anger of the American people is a lot of deeper than many of the pundits perceive.
CAVUTO: Do they need oversight, Congressman?
SANDERS: They sure do.
CAVUTO: They need more federal oversight?
SANDERS: I think they do.
CAVUTO: Even for the good guys who aren't doing anything wrong?
SANDERS: Well, that is always the problem, isn't it, that when you have bad guys ripping off the system, somehow they get hurt as well. But that is ultimately what happens.
I think the American people want to know that if they are going to invest in a company or if they're working in a company, that the procedures are in place by which decisions are made that are honest, that are in the best interest of the investors, of the workers, of the people in the United States. And I would say whether it is WorldCom, whether it's Enron, Arthur Andersen, Tyco, you name it. It's a new story every single day. What the American people are perceiving that these guys are only concerned about themselves. It's greed, greed, greed. To hell with this country, to hell with workers, to hell with investors. And I think that has got to change.
CAVUTO: Finally, when you look at what these corporate CEOs and these questioned companies from WorldCom and Global Crossing to Enron have done, do you think it's time that accounting firms themselves change or be better supervised, if not by the FCC, by a presidential task force or that sort of...
SANDERS: I do. Yes, I really do. I think, you know, Arthur Andersen apparently is involved again with WorldCom. If I am going to invest in a company, I have a right to know what an honest financial report is, don't I? I have a right to know really what is going on in that company, and it seems we are not getting that information. So I think there is going to have be much stronger oversight, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right. Congressman, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.
SANDERS: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the congressman from that fine state.
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