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John Doe Corporation v. PCAOB

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is a private entity unlawfully exerting government power. The unconstitutionally structured Board exercises sweeping legislative, executive, and pseudo-judicial power bestowed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, but it is staffed entirely by non-governmental private citizens who are subject to very little direction, oversight, or supervision from federal officials. This arrangement violates Article I, Sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

Because of this lack of meaningful supervision, the Board routinely gets away with investigative bullying. Under Sarbanes-Oxley the Board is supposed to establish “fair procedures” but Congress did not provide an intelligible principle to guide writing them. The Board has thus buried NCLA’s client, a small accounting firm, with a sixth “Accounting Board Demand” for reams of private firm documents. It has already made five similarly intrusive demands for the firm’s papers during its investigation, which has been dragging on for more than two years. Board staff have also required firm personnel to endure an outlandish seven days of transcribed interrogation. NCLA’s anonymous client, “John Doe Corporation,” is a rare and courageous firm willing to stand up to this Star Chamber, which Justice Kavanaugh once aptly described as an “unprecedented extra-constitutional stew.”

The Board’s abusive and one-sided investigative tactics also violate constitutional due process requirements. Not only do the notoriously secretive Board and its private staff employees lack the government supervision and accountability demanded by the Constitution when they perform the core executive functions of investigating and prosecuting American citizens and businesses, but the Board’s investigative process also deprives John Doe Corporation and other investigative targets of due process of law. The Board routinely punishes targets for “noncooperation” with Board investigative demands before they have any opportunity to challenge those demands in a court of law.

Mark Chenoweth
President and Chief Legal Officer
Sheng Li
Litigation Counsel
Russ Ryan
Senior Litigation Counsel

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