FCIC Forced to Subpoena, Again
Today, the congressionally appointed Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission subpoenaed Goldman Sachs for failing to hand over certain documents or failing to submit to certain interviews. (The FCIC did not specify what it is after.)
In my mind, the story here is less that Goldman, the world’s most profitable bank, failed to comply. The story is that this is the* third* instance of a company or individual neglecting to provide or keeping information from the panel — and, in the minds of journalists, three makes a trend. Notably, a subpoena comes after the FCIC has made repeated requests for information. First comes a nice letter. Then comes a nastier letter. Sometimes, after that, a phone call or another document. The subpoena comes only when it is clear the company or individual is being recalcitrant.
Perhaps Moody’s, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, and Goldman Sachs — the three the FCIC has subpoenaed thus far — believe that by refusing to comply they are telegraphing their independent, anti-regulatory stance, or belief that the FCIC is too accusatory or not important enough. Perhaps they are just slow to respond. But perhaps they should consider that Congress created the FCIC for the good of the American citizens who lost trillions in the financial crisis and recession and were forced to bail out the financial sector.