audit regulation, sarbanes-oxley, pac contributions


This dissertation documents and evaluates certain financial and non-financial strategies used by the public accounting profession to influence audit regulation during the policy formation period of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). The dissertation is comprised of three separate, but related studies. Each study uses prior research in accounting and related disciplines to investigate significant aspects the profession's strategies. The first study evaluates the rationality and effectiveness of political action committee (PAC) contributions paid by the accounting profession to members of Congress. The study finds that the accounting profession rationally allocated more PAC contributions to top congressional leaders and to members of committees having jurisdiction over SOX. The study also finds that the accounting profession allocated more PAC contributions to legislators with a history of pro-business roll call voting behavior and to candidates in close electoral races. This evidence suggests that the profession is motivated to contribute cash to legislators in order to gain access to lobby and to influence the ideological composition of the legislature. A voting model also finds a positive relationship in two instances between PAC contributions and roll call voting favorable to the economic interests of the profession in the House of Representatives. The second study evaluates the effect of these PAC contributions on Committee members' frequency and mode of speech during public hearings related to SOX. Using computerized computational linguistics, the study finds a significant positive association between PAC contributions and speech performance. The study also finds differential uses of modals and certain verbs between legislators depending upon party affiliation. The third paper explores the rhetoric of the accounting profession's public interest ideal and the profession's motivation to invoke public interest arguments in various contexts. I approach my analysis from three different perspectives. The first perspective analyzes the public interest language of the profession as well-intentioned rhetoric. The second approach eschews any well-intentioned motivations on behalf of the profession and casts public interest arguments as propaganda cloaking self-interested action. The third approach deconstructs the public interest ideal as myth, embodying a constellation of elements including cultural values, political doctrine and contingent interests.


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Graduation Date





Roberts, Robin


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Business Administration



Degree Program

Business Administration








Release Date

January 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Accounting Commons