While many people hoped that the Congressional committee on the financial crisis would launch a hard-hitting investigation like the Pecora Commission, it looks like the Commission will instead be a whitewash.
Don’t get me wrong: there are some good people on the so-called “Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission”, like Brooksley Born, who argued for regulation of derivatives (but was shouted down by Summers, Greenspan and Rubin).
But the Commission won’t investigate the role of Congress or the White House in the financial crisis. Commission chair Phil “Angelides firmly insists that his purview does not extend to the legislative or executive branch“.
That is eerily similar to the 9/11 Commission, which time and again said its investigation “didn’t seek to assign blame” to anyone in government. So the Commission treated the government with kid gloves, even though the 9/11 Commissioners themselves later said that the government lied and obstructed justice.
And the commission won’t issue any subpoenas unless there is bipartisan support to do so.
The 9/11 Commission, of course, failed to question Bush, Cheney, Rice or any other relevant people under oath, and failed to issue subpoenas to obtain relevant documents.
And the 9/11 Commission used the idea of “unanimity” and “bipartisanship” to delete all of the hard-hitting sections from the Commission’s report (if either republicans or democrats objected to any draft wording in the Commission’s report, it was modified until acceptable to everyone).
The 9/11 Commission was a whitewash. The Financial Commission will be the same thing.
To those who will say “give it a chance, it’s unfair to criticize the Commission before it has even been convened” I’d like to point out that they said the same thing when many including me warned that Obama’s appointment of Summers and Geithner would mean that Obama would just do the same old thing with regard to the economy and banks.
If a sports league has instituted grossly unfair rules, you don’t have to wait and watch the first game to know that it will be a train wreck.