This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, August 22, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: There's a lot of fingerpointing going on in corporate America, but it doesn't seem like is anyone is coming out and taking the blame. And guys like Jack Grubman and Bernie Ebbers seem to be getting off easy. At least that's what my next guest says.
More than anything though, he blames this all on deregulation, saying it leads to greed, fattening some wallets, but leaving most empty. Joining me now is Massachusetts Congressman Michael Capuano. And, Congressman, welcome. Good to have you with us.
REP. MICHAEL CAPUANO, D-MASS.: Thank you for having me.
KEENAN: You know, I have to agree with you, it strikes me that while we are getting some of the bad apples and we have Michael Kopper, for example, pleading guilty yesterday in connection with the Enron case, we still have folks like Ken Lay and his lawyer, who was on this program yesterday, running around saying hey, I had no clue what was going on.
CAPUANO: It is amazing how much money has disappeared and absolutely no one knows what happened to it. It is amazing, isn't it?
KEENAN: It is. And, you know, I hearken back to maybe 10, 11 years ago on Wall Street, when there was a scandal surrounding Solomon Brothers. The head of that firm, who had been there for 38 years, resigned for the good of the firm. He was not charged with anything, but he stepped down for the good of the firm. I have not seen much of that kind of activity going on?
CAPUANO: Well, you just saw one gentleman leave on some level, but he also left in return for $31 million. That is not a bad deal, and I don't know many people who wouldn't leave their job in return for $31 million.
KEENAN: You're speaking about Jack Grubman. And when he left, he wrote a long sob letter saying, you know, that he could not do his research to the caliber he had in the past. Yet, you know, Mr. Grubman is not a rogue trader. Nobody is saying that he was off analyzing on his own. He was really an integral part of the investment banking activities at Salomon Smith Barney. I don't think anyone is disputing that. Why hasn't Congress gone further up the chain in that firm to exactly figure out what was going on?
CAPUANO: I absolutely agree with you. I think that we should be going much further up the chain, in broader as well. It is not just one person and one company. I actually think that the problem is pretty much industrywide, and businesswide. I think that we have not looked at the security analysts very heavily, very deeply.
I think there is a lot of what the Congress could be doing and should be doing and several laws that we should be changing, not because everyone is bad. That is really unfortunately the way some people want to hear some of these things. That is not true.
But the people who are not breaking laws or not stretching the rules are not the ones we're trying to reign in. It is only the handful of people, or however many there are, but probably only a handful of people that have gone too far, that is what you need rules for. You do not need a rule to tell you or I not to murder somebody. We know it. But we still have rules against murder for the handful of people who aren't quite sure about it.
KEENAN: And there are certainly a lot of rules on the books in terms of regulating the securities industry. It's just a lot of them have not been followed. How is this going to play out when you guys get back to work in the next couple of weeks?
CAPUANO: I don't know. It has certainly already gone further than I had thought it was going to go, and that's a good thing. I think we have actually done more than I would have guessed we would have done six months ago. But that has a lot to do with the political nature of it.
When we get back, it is still a hot political issue where every politician in the country who is running for anything is talking about corporate greed and talking about whatever it is they think are the buttons to push.
And on top of that, honestly, every one of my constituents that I talk to is upset about the ongoing situation. So, it is still a hot issue. And honestly, I don't know how much further we will be able to go.
KEENAN: Do you think the main stones have been turned over? We have now looked into the analysts, the investment bankers, the CEOs.
CAPUANO: Some. I mean, we have certainly taken a good step forward. I will agree with that. But I do think there is more to go. I do not think we have done much for the analysts at all. The analysts are walking off with no real problems with this issue. Some of the investment bankers are walking off with no real problems here. I mean, none of this could have been done without analysts in bed with corporate CEOs who were also in bed with investment bankers. I mean, it takes a whole bunch of people to get this thing to go. And, I think, unfortunately, we are looking at a handful of them.
KEENAN: And a whole bunch of people to untangle it as well, I guess.
KEENAN: OK, we will see what happens in Congress this fall. Thanks for joining us.
CAPUANO: Thank you.
KEENAN: Congressman Michael Capuano.
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