Financial crisis panel suffers partisan breakdown

When the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission blew past its congressionally mandated Dec. 15 deadline to issue its report explaining the origins of the Great Recession of 2008, the panel's Democratic majority unilaterally decided to complete its work by a date yet to be determined in January. By effectively ignoring the very law that created it, the commission majority exemplified the irresponsible approach of the 111th Congress to virtually every issue it addressed, including Obamacare, the economic stimulus and passage of a federal budget. As happened in Congress in 2009 and most of 2010, the Democratic majority running the FCIC did as it pleased, with little input from the four Republican members.

At every step along the way, FCIC Chairman Phil Angelides — the former Democratic state treasurer of California — undermined his panel's credibility and squandered taxpayer money by refusing to conduct his work in an open manner. He constantly complained about having too little time (more than a year) and insufficient funding ($6 million from taxpayers, not including the salaries of civil service detailees from the Federal Reserve and Treasury, among other government agencies).

When

The Examiner requested resumes and other information on each commission staff member, Angelides refused until we editorialized about the commission's marked lack of transparency. He then released a partial staff list that did not include names of contractors or staff salaries. When we uncovered evidence of multiple conflicts of interest among the commission's staff, Angelides simply refused to talk about who he hired or why, even as he acknowledged the possibility of those conflicts.

No wonder Republican commissioner Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute said the “bipartisan” process that was supposed to prevail in the commission's deliberations was “not well-managed.” Wallison noted that “we had 15 months to do this study, and it should have been completed on time.” A source familiar with the FCIC's work told

The Examiner that the commission's partisan atmosphere intensified after the November election, with multiple roll call votes required merely to resolve even simple issues like language.

Republican commissioner Keith Hennessey said the majority voted en masse “to limit the minority's opportunity to express our views in the commercial book version of the upcoming report. In a 512-page book that will be for sale at commercial bookstores, those who dissent are now allotted nine pages each.” When he suggested increasing the length of the commercial book to allow room for additional views, he was turned down because it “might add $1 to the sale price of the book.”

Just Posted

Community-led efforts to monitor air quality in Bayview, Eastern neighborhoods gain traction

San Francisco community groups are working to install high-quality sensors in the… Continue reading

Fire department drill finds traffic around Chase Arena could slow response time

For years, some have feared the future home of the Golden State… Continue reading

Did Scoot ‘redline’ SF neighborhoods? Chinatown group says ‘we asked for it’

The talk of the transportation world is a Los Angeles Times story… Continue reading

New hires solve SF school crossing guard shortage — for now

San Francisco has gone on a school crossing guard-hiring binge, hoping to… Continue reading

SF sets a high bar for Lyft on electric bike rentals

Newly spelled out city requirements could open the door for other e-bike providers

Most Read