Ernst & Young agreed to pay more than $4M to settle charges of violatingauditor independence rules that require firms to maintain their objectivity and impartiality with clients. The SEC found that an Ernst & Young subsidiary lobbied congressional staff on behalf of two audit clients. Such lobbying activities were impermissible under the SEC’s auditor independence rules because they put the firm in the position of being an advocate for those audit clients. Despite providing the prohibited legislative advisory services on behalf of the clients, Ernst & Young repeatedly represented that it was “independent” in audit reports issued on the clients’ financial statements. SEC
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