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by Rick Turoczy on August 31, 2005

That KPMG avoided indictment as a firm shows that the Justice Department has learned something from its 2002 indictment of Arthur Andersen over its involvement with Enron. That conviction was thrown out earlier this year by the Supreme Court, but its vindication came too late for its 28,000 mostly innocent employees. Not to mention for the broader U.S. economy, which was reduced to only four major accounting firms just when Sarbanes-Oxley was gaining momentum.

KPMG will survive this “deferred prosecution” by admitting wrongdoing. But it’s easy to forget amid the righteous indignation over tax shelters with names like FLIP, BLIP, OPIS and SC2 that the legality of these tax-avoidance techniques has never really been tested. The IRS banned each of them in the late 1990s or early 2000s, but no court has ruled on their propriety. Congress and KPMG

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