NEW YORK May 13 Recent efforts by the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission to boost the level and the
quality of local governments' disclosures, including those that
resulted in fraud charges against Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will
subsequently improve the whole industry, Moody's Investors
Service said on Monday.
The SEC charged Pennsylvania's cash-strapped capital with
fraud last week, marking the first time the commission went
after a municipality for making misleading statements outside of
the disclosure documents provided in bond sales. The commission
did not single out any individuals in the charge.
The Moody's report written by Chief Credit Officer Public
Sector Ratings Anne Van Praagh and Associate Analyst Coby
Kutcher, lists other recent SEC actions.
In March, the SEC found that Illinois misled investors by
failing to include significant information about its unfunded
pension plan. It also found that New Jersey "failed to disclose
that pension benefits had increased and the plans were under-
"The SEC's stepped-up enforcement of disclosure
requirements, both in terms of quality and timeliness, should be
credit-positive for the industry long term," the report said.