Congress passed Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002 to deal with the accounting scandals that resulted in the downfall of the likes of Enron, Tyco, Worldcom, Arthur Andersen, and others. In its October Term 2014, the Supreme Court will decide if the act’s anti-shredding provision applies to fish.
That’s right, fish. Those slippery, gill-bearing aquatic animals. How did this come to be?
Sarbanes-Oxley contains an anti-shredding provision, 18 U.S.C. § 1519, that criminalizes knowingly altering, destroying, mutilating, concealing, covering up, falsifying, or making a false entry in “any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration” of any federal matter. Fish, according to the federal government, fall within the ambit of the “tangible object” in § 1519.
A broad reading of that term could create a real burden to businesses, particularly in compliance and storage costs. If a “tangible object” in Sarbanes-Oxley includes a fish, imagine what else it might include.