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Doe v. PCAOB

Plaintiff John Doe (a pseudonym used to protect his anonymity) seeks to stop PCAOB from continuing its unlawful and unconstitutional disciplinary proceedings. The Board’s massive investigative, prosecutorial, and pseudo-judicial powers are largely unchecked. After years of intrusive investigation, PCAOB can impose severe punitive sanctions against individual accountants and accounting firms in its regulatory ambit, up to permanently banning an individual from associating with any registered firm, revoking a firm’s registration, and imposing civil monetary penalties of up to $1.1 million for individuals and $22 million for firms—per violation. These potential penalty amounts are 20 times higher for firms than the maximum penalties the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may impose.

Worse yet, PCAOB’s core executive and pseudo-judicial activity is performed and superintended by private citizens, none of whom is constitutionally appointed as an officer of the United States. PCAOB hearing officers are inferior constitutional officers who have not been lawfully appointed under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution and are unconstitutionally protected by multiple layers of protection from removal by the President.

NCLA argues that (1) PCAOB’s prosecution is being funded by money raised and spent in violation of the Appropriations, Taxing, and Spending Clauses of the Constitution and the separation of powers principles enshrined in those clauses; (2) PCAOB’s disciplinary proceedings deprive the Plaintiff of his Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial ; and (3) PCAOB’s disciplinary process is systemically biased, secretive, and unfair, in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause and the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act.​

Casey Norman
Litigation Counsel
Russ Ryan
Senior Litigation Counsel

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