From the Jan. 25, 2010 issue of TIME Magazine
Epic congressional investigations of Wall Street have followed the nation's epic financial disasters: the Pujo Committee, starting in 1912, and the Pecora Commission, in 1932. Now, after a year of sometimes enlightening but mostly maddening congressional hearings about the Panic of 2008, a potential modern equivalent is under way the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, created by Congress but populated by a mix of financial experts and smarter-than-average former elected officials. In keeping with the P-heavy historical precedents, it could be known as the Phil Commission, after chairman Phil Angelides a former California state treasurer who lost to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the state's 2006 governor's race. On the commission's first day of hearings, Angelides set a tone of civil but pointed inquisition that bodes well for its future. "It sounds to me like selling a car with faulty brakes and then buying an insurance policy on the buyer," he said at one point while grilling Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein about the dodgy mortgage securities the bank sold. The dark arts that produced this crisis may finally be coming into the light.
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