Rep. Michael (Mike) Oxley from a June 29, 2002 appearance on CNN's Novak Hunty and Shields.
2002: Rep. Mike Oxley explains corruption bill
01:04 - Source: CNN

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Co-authored landmark corporate reform bill

Was widely liked on the Hill by both sides of the aisle

CNN  — 

Former Ohio Republican Congressman Mike Oxley – the co-author of a landmark anti-corporate fraud law that bears his name – passed away Friday in his sleep, his son, Elvis, confirmed to CNN. He was 71.

Oxley was suffering from a recurrence of non-small-cell non-smoking-related lung cancer, his family said.

He was one of the authors of the key 2002 anti-corporate fraud legislation, known as the Sarbanes-Oxley act. The measure followed several corporate scandals in 2001 and 2002, including ones involving Enron and WorldCom. The bill aimed at helping to re-build confidence in business by creating a new accounting oversight board for publicly traded companies, among other provisions.

Oxley, who represented Ohio’s Fourth Congressional District for 25 years, had told some audiences, however, he was most proud of helping to sponsor the auction by the government of frequencies of the wireless spectrum, which brought in billions of dollars for the federal government.

U,S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan (L) chats with then House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R), R-OH, before testifying in front of that committee 28 February, 2001 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan said in a statement he and his wife were saddened to learn of Oxley’s passing.

“Mike was a true policymaker, passionate about the intricacies of his work and always driven by what he believed was best for the country and his district,” Ryan said. “Yet for all of his accomplishments, I will always remember Mike for being, above all, a genuinely good and decent man. Ox set an example for all of us, and he will be missed.”

“Mike worked hard to represent the people of north central Ohio and was a champion for our state,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who served with Oxley in the House. “Mike was also a national leader in reforming our banking and financial laws. And, in what can sometimes be a tough business, Mike Oxley was genuinely liked by people on both sides of the aisle.”

Oxley served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee from 2001 to 2006, leading the congressional response to the tech bubble, the period following the Sept. 11th attacks and the corporate scandals.

The former congressman recalled in a 2006 interview with The Lima News one of his first interactions with then-President Ronald Reagan, who had asked for his help in passing a tax cut bill.

“It was my first major vote, and I had barely found my office,” Oxley told the paper. “I still have the pen. The president sent a thank you letter and pen to every member of Congress who voted for it. All of a sudden I had a presidential signing pen, and I’d been here like two weeks.”

After he left Congress, Oxley worked as a lobbyist representing multinational and corporate clients and was a senior adviser to NASDAQ.

Before his political career, Oxley served as a special FBI agent working in Washington, Boston and New York.