Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report Due

Word is beginning to leak out about the contents of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's (FCIC) final report, a 576-page official analysis of the causes of the crisis. The Commission, which got off to a slow and rocky start, managed to hold 19 days of hearings and interviewed 700 witnesses. According to the New York Times, the report puts blame where blame is due, on reckless Wall Street gambling, but also on the colossal failure of government.

The report is bipartisan in its finger pointing. It nails former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, first appointed by President Reagan in 1987, for being a cheerleader of financial deregulation and cites a "pivotal failure to stem the flow of toxic mortgages" under his leadership as a "prime example" of negligence. The Clinton administration's efforts to shield the exotic financial instruments known as "over-the-counter derivatives" from regulation are called "a key turning point in the march toward the financial crisis."

A mature, official analysis of the crisis is overdue, given the absurd behavior of some Republican members of the Commission. In an attempt to shift blame for the collapse of the global economy from the big banks and mortgage firms onto homeowners, they attempted to strike the words "Wall Street" and "deregulation" from the final document. When they failed, they huffed out of the room, and in a preemptive strike issued a 13-page report of their own blaming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. After reviewing their report, Yves Smith of NakedCapitalism Blog said "this whole line of thinking is garbage, the financial equivalent of saying the earth revolves around the sun."

The Huffington Post reported earlier in the week that FCIC investigators had referred evidence of wrongdoing the U.S. Department of Justice and to state Attorneys General. Stay tuned to for any developments on that front.

The FCIC report can be ordered through your local independent bookstore or []. Watch the press conference Thursday, January 27, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. EST at

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation and is a two-time recipient of the Sidney Prize for public interest journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.