TWO FINANCIAL INVESTIGATIONS: One Went after The Banksters, The Other Became A Forum For Bluster
By Danny Schechter
Director, Plunder, The Crime of Our Time
A Tale of Then and Now, FDR vs Obama: A Story of Shame, Co-optation, Partisan Bickering and Industry Lobbying To Undermine Financial Reform
2009, The Intent: Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "What I want to initiate is the equivalent of what happened in the 30's. They had something that was called the Pecora Commission. This was the commission that was formed when Franklin Roosevelt took office and they investigated what happened with the markets... We need to know. Some people can tell you one piece of it. Others can tell you another piece of it. But really it's very hard do you understand it? -- for the American people and the rest of us as we try to make policy as we go forward to see the ramifications of any of the changes we're being asked to make."
THEN: Robert Kuttner: In 1932 through 1934 the Senate Banking Committee, led by its Chief Counsel Ferdinand Pecora, ferreted out the deeper fraud and corruption that led to the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. The Pecora Committee's findings helped change the political mood, and laid the groundwork for the sweeping financial reforms of Roosevelt's New Deal. Roosevelt himself often conferred with Pecora, encouraged him, and depended on Pecora's work to build the public support for reform. He appointed Pecora to one of the newly created results of his handiwork, the Securities and Exchange Commission, though Pecora was disappointed not to be its chairman.
NOW: NY Times April 6 2010 Financial Crisis Inquiry Wrestles With Setbacks
WASHINGTON -- The panel established by Congress to investigate the causes of the financial crisis has been hobbled by delays and internal disagreements and a lack of focus, according to interviews with a majority of its members and government officials briefed on its work.
THEN: Wikipedia, "Following the Wall Street Crash, the U.S. economy had gone into a depression, and a large number of banks failed. The Pecora Investigation sought to uncover the causes of the financial collapse. As chief counsel, Ferdinand Pecora personally examined many high-profile witnesses, who included some of the nation's most influential bankers and stockbrokers. Among these witnesses were Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange, investment bankers Otto H. Kahn, Charles E. Mitchell, Thomas W. Lamont, and Albert H. Wiggin, plus celebrated commodity market speculators such as Arthur W. Cutten. Given wide media coverage, the testimony of the powerful banker J.P. Morgan, Jr. caused a public outcry after he admitted under examination that he and many of his partners had not paid any income taxes in 1931 and 1932."