Probe of Financial Crisis Commission Appears Stuck

From: Wall Street Journal/Washington Wire

By John D. McKinnon

Partisan maneuvering continues over the blue-ribbon commission that probed the 2008 financial crisis, as House Republicans find themselves stymied in an attempt to investigate the panel’s work.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) first requested documents and other materials from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission back in July. At the time, Mr. Issa said he had questions about the commission’s spending as well as concerns that the panel was taking a partisan turn.

But according to a Jan. 25 follow-up letter from Mr. Issa, who is now chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the commission still hadn’t provided any of the documents he requested.

In a reply letter to Mr. Issa this week, the commission’s chairman, former California Treasurer Phil Angelides, said that the panel’s staff members were too busy preparing the panel’s report to respond to all the questions. And now they’re packing up the commission’s materials to send off to the National Archives before they disband on Feb. 13, he wrote.

The 10-member commission was created by Congress to investigate and explain the causes of the 2008 meltdown. In its report released late last month, the commission divided basically along party lines, with the six Democratic appointees supporting a majority report, and the four Republican appointees dissenting.

The Jan. 31 letter from Mr. Angelides promises to try to respond to as many of the GOP inquiries as possible, but he doesn’t hold out a lot of hope.

“I note that the document requests contained in your letter are quite expansive and production would require resources beyond the Commission’s staff, financial and computer capabilities,” the letter says. “The Commission will…endeavor to respond to as many of your inquiries as possible in the remaining time of its existence. Thereafter, as noted above, all of the Commission’s historical records will be available for review in the National Archives, and other  records will be available through the GSA.”

A person close to the commission says that the compliance effort has begun in the last couple of days.

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