In the wake of the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, Congress established the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in May 2009 to “examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.” There were ten Commissioners, including six Democrats and four Republicans, led by Democratic Chairman Phil Angelides and Republican Vice Chairman Bill Thomas.
In July 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Based on testimony from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and others that there had been deficient regulation of the financial markets leading up to the crisis, the Dodd-Frank Act included significant new protections for consumers of financial products.
House Republicans voted almost unanimously against the Dodd-Frank Act. On the day it passed the Senate, then-House Minority Leader John Boehner stated: “I think it ought to be repealed.” Since then, House Republicans have been aggressive in their efforts to repeal the Act and prevent its protections from being implemented.
On July 27, 2010, then-Ranking Member Issa announced an investigation into the activities of the Commission. In a letter to Chairman Angelides, Ranking Member Issa wrote that, although he had hoped that the Commission would “be able to conduct a fair and effective investigation which would help Congress as it considered financial regulatory reform legislation,” he was launching his investigation in part because “the Administration and congressional Democrats have instead chosen to ram through a partisan financial regulation bill before the FCIC has completed its work.”
Ranking Member Issa made a number of allegations focused almost exclusively on Democratic Commissioners and staff. He asserted that “potential financial mismanagement” caused the Commission to “run out of money”; that “commissioners and staff of the FCIC may have conflicts of interest”; that some senior staff had “extensive ties” to “partisan Democrat politics”; and that the decision to delay the Commission’s final report by a month and a half was caused by “continued management problems.”
As part of Chairman Issa’s investigation, he requested a wide range of internal Commission documents. In response, the Committee has now obtained more than 400,000 e-mails, memoranda, draft reports, and other documents from both Democratic and Republican Commissioners and staff.
These documents indicate that Chairman Issa’s allegations are largely unsubstantiated, and this report addresses each allegation in turn. In contrast, the documents raise significant new questions about whether Republican Commissioners geared their efforts on the Commission toward helping House Republicans in their campaign to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, rather than determining the facts that led to the economic crisis. The documents also raise a host of new ethical questions about Republican Commissioners and staff, including evidence that they leaked confidential information to outside parties on multiple occasions.
Full report below…