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Congressional Investigators to Stay the Month

As the House debates the financial bailout bill today, the House oversight committee has set five hearings in October, each on a different aspect of the financial crisis. The announcement from Rep. Henry A. Waxman, (D-Calif.) chairman of the House oversight committee, is extraordinary because lawmakers were supposed to have left Washington a week ago to campaign for reelection.

Oversight members meet Monday regarding the bankruptcy of Lehman Bros. investment bank and return the next day to look at the government’s $85-billion bailout of insurance giant AIG.

It’s not known whether new information will surface doing these hearings– former Lehman Bros. CEO Richard Fuld has so far not handed over requested company emails and memos.

The committee’s attention will then shift to hedge fund managers, followed by credit rating agencies. The final hearing, Oct. 23, will be on the role of federal regulators and include former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan as a witness.

Waxman, who voted for the bailout bill Monday, argues that, “Congress cannot wait until a new administration arrives in January to examine what went wrong and who should be held accountable.”

It’s hard to know what to expect from these hearings. With Greenspan and top CEO’s invited, they could be explosive and spark new probes into executive compensation, hedge fund-friendly tax codes and credit rating agencies that took money from the bond issuers they rated.

Or everybody but Waxman will be on the campaign trial.

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