Good story today in The Washington Post regarding a new effort by the SEC to look at the repsonsibility — or lack thereof — of corporate boards. 

With few exceptions, boards have received little media attention as the country has sought explanations for financial firms’ taking on such perilous risks. These boards — which typically consist of a dozen or more well-known executives, politicians and other influential people — were ultimately responsible for the decisions of the Wall Street companies, housing firms and banks at the heart of the crisis.

The boards signed off on the risks the companies took and the compensation packages awarded to top executives. But many corporate watchdogs say the boards of top financial firms had characteristics that promoted risky business practices and harmed shareholders.

Quoted in the story is Nell Minow, co-founder of the Corporate Library.  Check out its web site.  From  there you can find links to her appearances.  She’s articulate and has a a great frame for the argument for pay restrictions on companies receiving taxpayer funds:  The government is acting like any other capitalist; when you put money into a company, especially when it’s critical to the company’s salvation, any capitalist would ask for give backs.  It’s simply a quid pro quo.  An elegant argument against those who otherwise extol the virtues of capitalism.