Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission postpones final report – Republican members dissent

I don’t know what to make of this interesting story.

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) was to submit its report on the crisis on 15 Dec 2010. Y’day FCIC released a press release saying the report would now be released in January 2011.

To ensure that the Commission’s ongoing investigation and the documentation thereof is appropriately completed, the Commission has resolved, by majority vote, to deliver its report in January 2011, rather than on December 15, 2010. The  additional time will allow the Commission to produce and disseminate a report which best serves the public interest and more fully informs the President, the Congress and the American people about the facts and causes of the crisis. The Commission will conclude its operations by February 13, 2011, as prescribed.

It sent letters to Congress and US President informing about this action.

As the press release says it has taken this decision because of a majority vote. So, there must be some dissenters. Interestingly there are 6 democratic members and 4 Republicans. All 3 Republican members dissented with one unable to vote as he was not there in the meeting (but he also spoke against postponement). Hence, the vote was 6-3 in favor of postponement. Republican Commissioners dissented via this letter:

Vice Chairman Bill Thomas, Commissioner Keith Hennessey, Commissioner Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Commissioner Peter Wallison announce:

Today, Republican Commissioners on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (“FCIC”) voted against a motion to change the date of delivery of the Commission’s report to the President and Congress to January 2011. The Commission is statutorily required to deliver the report on December 15, 2010 as set forth by the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009.

The Commission has had over a year to complete the report and we believe the delivery of the report to the President and Congress is being delayed to accommodate the publication of a book-length document to coincide with the presentation of the FCIC’s findings and conclusions.

We believe a report containing the findings and conclusions of the FCIC on the causes of the financial crisis can be delivered by the statutory delivery date and Republican Commissioners are prepared to work to meet the deadline set forth in statute.

It is not clear why they dissented. I just checked google and found some interesting addendums to the story.

  • Huffington Post says report delayed as latest revelations show that the nation’s biggest mortgage companies used fraudulent tactics in trying to foreclose on distressed homeowners. Phil Angelides, chairman of FCIC says very powerful interest groups trying to undermine findings. In such a scenario it is better to delay and come with true findings rather than a patch up kind of work.
  • WSJ points out that FCIC suffers from a high staff turnover and has had its share of problems.

We surely are living in interesting times. Dissent of Republican members is not clear. You never know there could be a lot of political connections and lobbying pointing blame at Republicans for their role in the foreclosure crisis. Or they could just be looking at next elections and looking at Wall Street funding their party. So they would not want any more attempts to restrict or penalise wall street firms.

In this crisis anything is possible.

One Response to “Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission postpones final report – Republican members dissent”

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