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February 2, 2011

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report: A “Clip Job”?

Last Thursday, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission released its long-awaited 410-page report about the causes of the financial crisis (and a 29-page dissent and a 95-page dissent-from-the-dissent). The Commission reviewed millions of pages of documents, interviewed 700+ witnesses and held 19 days of public hearings in New York, DC and communities across the country. Here’s the FCIC page with the full report, conclusions and dissents. Here’s some analysis that I received from Lynn Turner:

Unfortunately, what the FCIC did not do, is a real investigation. Congress never gave it enough money to do its job, not unlike how Congress has treated many of the regulators. It didn’t hire the attorneys and accountants trained as investigators as Pecora did. Some of its top staff were seconded from the Fed which as the report notes, was one of the biggest reasons for the crisis. Its top and initial head of staff left long before the project was done as did other staff frustrated by the superficial work of the Commission. It did not make all its subpoena’s public and quite frankly which would have been embarrassing as in all likelihood because they didn’t issue many. Likewise all the FCIC records of interviews and inquiries have not been made public raising (1) a question as to whether they agreed to nondisclosure agreements with some parties and (2) whether there is that much of a record.

Here’s more analysis of the report:

- Ben Heineman’s “Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission: The Private Sector Failed”
- Bloomberg’s “Wall Street’s Collapse to Be Mystery Forever
- NY Times’ “Washington’s Financial Disaster”
- DealBook’s “Everyone Was to Blame, Crisis Commission Finds”
- Reuters’ “Bernanke: all but one major firm at risk in 2008″
- DealBook’s “Crisis May Seem Criminal, but Try Making a Case”
- Washington Post’s “Commission member dissents on financial crisis report, says housing policy caused meltdown”
- Bloomberg’s “Infighting, Investigations Overshadow FCIC Report”
- NY Times’ “Crisis Panel’s Report Parsed Far and Wide”

Jonathon Weil’s Bloomberg piece above is what gave me the idea for “clip job” in this blog’s title when he wrote this paragraph: “This, in journalistic parlance, is what we call a clip job. And that’s the trouble with much of the commission’s 545-page report. There’s lots of breezy, magazine-style, narrative prose. But there’s not much new information.”

SEC General Counsel David Becker to Leave

Yesterday, the SEC announced that its General Counsel – David Becker – was returning to the private sector after a two-year stint during his second tour of duty with the SEC as its GC. Given the SEC’s incredibly tight budget constraints right now, I wonder if the SEC has the money to replace David! Big shoes to fill for sure…

How to Implement Dodd-Frank for This Proxy Season

We have posted the transcript for our webcast: “How to Implement Dodd-Frank for This Proxy Season.”

Poll: What Will Be the Primary Cause of the Next Financial Crisis?

For most of us, we don’t know what will be the primary cause of the next financial crisis – but we do know that someday one will come because that is what history has taught us. And we do have our hunches of what might be the next cause. In this anonymous poll, share what your guess is of that cause:

Online Surveys & Market Research


- Broc Romanek