Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Will the 'Financial Markets Commission' Probe Congress?

Congress is moving closer to creating a "Financial Markets Commission," similar to the 9-11 Commission, to study the origins of the financial crisis.

That's a good idea, and long overdue. As I argued in my blog a few weeks ago and in my Portfolio article on Bernie Madoff, an independent commission is urgently needed tto sort through how we got into this mess, and how to prevent another one.

What's not clear is whether this commission will examine the actions of one of the key players: Congress.

The Senate provision creating the commission -- the text is here -- is pretty broad, encompassing everything from compensation to short-selling, and, thankfully, the role of regulatory agencies. But what about Congress? As I pointed out in my Portfolio blog item, there's plenty of evidence that Congress was far from a passive bystander. Congress should be explicitly mentioned in the charter of the financial markets commission.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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