The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, established in 2009 to
investigate the causes of the recent financial crisis, has subpoenaed
both Goldman Sachs and Warren Buffet over the past week. Their
testimony, how it was received, and how the FCIC issued their subpoenas
has revealed much about the commission's mission, approach, and perhaps
- FCIC Fumes at Goldman Sachs Politico's Jake Sherman writes of the
subpoena, "The FCIC's chief compliant [sic?] appears to be that Goldman has
been slow to respond to requests for information. The commission's top
two officials said Goldman responds to document requests with large
volumes of un-indexed records instead of targeted responses to specific
questions. They called the company's efforts 'deliberate and disruptive'
and 'abysmal, unacceptable.' Angelides likened Goldman's participation
to pulling a dump truck up to their office and dumping 'a bunch of
- FCIC Hasn't Been Great Itself The New York Times asks, "We also
have to ask what took the commission so long ... In its own disturbing
lack of transparency, the panel has not made the subpoena public. A
summary on its Web site, posted late Monday, says that it is looking for
information on Goldman's derivatives' deals and wants to interview
Goldman's top executives and other employees with knowledge of specific
transactions. The public clearly has the right to know those details and
how they may have contributed to the financial crisis."
Is Struggling Time's Stephen Ganel writes, "The
real question is what is the FCIC looking for, and does it even know. I
know Goldman is enemy #1, but there are a lot of cops on that beat. And
hasn't the SEC already found in Abacus as close to a smoking gun for
Goldman as one will probably get. Now I would be all for the FCIC
continuing with its Goldman inquiry if they knew of some document that
would blow the Goldman case wide open. But from their press release it
looks like they are still in fishing expedition mode."
They're Showing Promise The American Prospect's Tim Fernholz sees "a sign that we'll be seeing more
attention for the FCIC's work. While a major early
concern about the commission was that it would be irrelevant to the
policy debates in Washington, it's clear that it has been able to drive
the media discussion about financial reform more than most observers
initially expected, which gives the commission's final report, due in
December, a chance to impact both regulatory behavior and future reforms
of the financial sector. "
- The Double Standard The Wall
Street Journal's Michael Corkery sees
"hardball" with Goldman and asks "why were those [FCIC] men last week
playing softball when they greeted Warren Buffett at a commission
hearing on the failures of the credit-rating providers. Like Goldman,
Buffett also was subpoenaed by the commission. Buffett had to be
subpoenaed not to turn over sensitive internal documents, a la Goldman,
but merely to show up." He sighs, "Clearly there is a lot of competition
among Goldman critics and investigators. So simply treading over the
same ground as the others isn't going to generate headlines for the
- Has Goldman Become Untouchable? Liberal blogger Chris in Paris writes of
the FCIC's complain that Goldman isn't cooperating, "Why should they?
Everyone in Washington made sure to avoid any strings being attached to
the bailout that saved Wall Street and Goldman Sachs from ruin. The
problem now is that Goldman is certain that it's above the law of the
land. Unfortunately they're probably right as well. They know they can
get away with anything because they are on the short list of 'even
bigger than too big to fail' in the financial industry."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.