Commission Is Created To Investigate Roots of Crisis

Former California treasurer Philip Angelides was named yesterday by Democratic lawmakers to lead a panel investigating the causes of the financial crisis. The panel has subpoena power and may identify firms and individuals judged responsible for contributing to the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

Democrats also appointed Brooksley Born, former Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman; former senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.); John Thompson, chairman of software maker Symantec; Heather Murren, a retired managing director at Merrill Lynch; and Byron Georgiou, a member of the advisory board of Harvard Law School's corporate governance program, Washington Post reports.

Meanwhile, the commission was created by Congress to investigate the roots of the crisis. Lawmakers gave the commission a broad mandate, as well as subpoena power, to look at issues like the role of exotic financial instruments and credit rating agencies, compensation, and the failure of regulators to manage risky lending at banks.

Lawmakers who created the commission said it was modeled on the commission that had examined the intelligence and law enforcement lapses leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks , New York Times reports.

“Millions of Americans have lost their homes and hard-earned pensions, and it's our responsibility to make sure the facts are known so this is less likely in the future," Angelides said.

The panel joins a growing list of financial crisis watchdogs, each responsible for keeping an eye out for the taxpayer in different ways that often overlap. The Special Inspector General for the bailout and the Congressional Oversight Panel for the bailout and even the New York Attorney General have all pledged to stamp out fraud as they look at different parts of the financial crisis, reports.

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