Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable are suggesting that the Securities and Exchange Commission take the sort of stance towards corporate America under Christopher Cox that they had expected under fellow Republican William Donaldson, also a Bush appointee.

The Chamber, which has pursued legal action to block the independent chairman rule, said its members want "fair and predictable" enforcement action from the SEC, according to a report in yesterday's Financial Times.

"The first order of business is to look carefully at the current approach on investigations and enforcement, to ensure you are balancing the need for aggressive enforcement against fraud with the need to provide a fair and predictable process for honest companies," said David Hirschmann, senior vice president of the Chamber. "That is clearly our top priority."

Thomas Lehner, director of public policy at the Business Roundtable added, "All parties are looking for a consistent enforcement environment at the SEC, so that everybody understands what the ground rules are."

Lehner said further that the SEC should cease new rulemaking until businesses can absorb and implement the spate of new regulations that have been issued in recent years.

Another powerful trade group, the Securities Industry Association, wants the SEC to consider cost benefit analysis when weighing future regulations, the Financial Times reported.

Cox is Bush's recommendation to succeed Donaldson, whose relationship with fellow Republican Commissioners has reportedly been strained in recent months. At issue, published reports said, were tough corporate crackdowns like hedge fund registration and the independent chairman rule for mutual funds.

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