Bush Administration Sides with Defendants in Case Linked to Enron

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WASHINGTON (AP) - In a U.S. Supreme Court battle, shareholders trying to sue scheming companies appear to have the support of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But, they don't have the backing of the Bush administration. The White House its throwing its backing behind the companies.

At issue is whether shareholders can sue third parties, such as accountants, lawyers or investment banks, who plot with publicly held companies to deceive investors.

The Bush administration says ruling in favor of the shareholders would expose those companies to billions of dollars in liabilities. It says the SEC should be the sole prosecutor of companies accused of aiding and abetting corporate fraud.

If the court rules against investors in the suit, it could mean that other cases, like the suit brought by shareholders of Houston-based Enron, would have no chance of survival.