Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Kicks Off Work This Week

This week, members of the 10-person, bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission met for the first time to begin efforts to investigate the causes of the financial crisis.

The Commission was created by Congress to investigate the roots of the crisis, and lawmakers have given them a broad mandate to look into issues such as

the actions of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the failure of regulators to manage risky lending, the role of exotic financial instruments and credit rating agencies, and compensation.

The Commission is led by former California Treasurer Phil Angelides (whose opening remarks from yesterday’s meeting can be seen here) and vice-chaired by Bill Thomas, former Republican leader of the House Ways and Means Committee. Thomas Greene, a lawyer in California's Attorney General's office, is the group's executive director. Other members include:

• Brooksley Born, chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under President Clinton;

• Bob Graham, former Democratic senator from Florida;

• Keith Hennessey, former economic adviser to President George W. Bush;

• Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former CBO director and top adviser to Senator McCain’s presidential campaign;

• Heather Murren, retired managing director at Merrill Lynch;

• Byron Georgiou, Las Vegas businessman;

• John W. Thompson, chairman of Symantec; and

• Peter J. Wallison, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

The work of the Commission, which will culminate in a report they will submit in December 2010, could significantly influence efforts by lawmakers to overhaul the financial regulatory system.