SEC proposes independent auditor rules

WASHINGTON — Carrying out the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform law, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued proposed rules Tuesday designed to force accounting firms to maintain absolute independence from the companies whose books they audit.

The SEC plans to seek public comment on the proposals, which the law requires be in place by late January. The measures are a response to corporate scandals in which auditing firms failed to spot evidence of massive fraud.

The commission recommended:

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