New “Pecora Commission” To Be Named This Week? Who Would You Appoint?


Last week, Reuters speculated on potential nominees for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a sort of successor to the famed Pecora Commission.  The planted list of CW-approved possibilities was underwhelming:

A short list of names has emerged for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that includes former Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson; former Democratic head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Brooksley Born; and Alex Pollock, a fellow at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Fred Thompson?  Seriously?!?!  That is the best we could possibly do?  Praise the free market and pass the prune juice, what a country.

As Bill Scher points out:

Most Americans do not know that the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is on the verge of naming its members. Nor do they know what difference the right people could make, not just in nailing the culprits behind the market meltdown, but ensuring that we enact reforms that actually reform the flaws in our flimsy regulations. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be naming the commission members soon, most likely this week. Now is the time to let them know the type of person you want to have subpoena power on your behalf.

Time to get the word out to folks on the Hill:  we are watching what you do.  And we expect you to do this carefully, thoughtfully and intelligently, putting the interests of all Americans and not just your biggest donors front and center.

Keep this in mind, Beltway gang:  when even Justice Antonin Scalia sees a need for more stringent regulation?  Wall Street has a big problem that isn’t going to be fixed by trying to sweep things under the rug.

To that end, if you were doing the appointments, who would you want on a new Pecora Commission? And why? Bob Kuttner takes a stab at a wish list here. I’d like to see yours. Let’s put together a "dream team" list for this committee. 

I’ll see what I can do to get it into the hands of people who need to see it.

For background on the Pecora Commission, we’ve had a series of posts on this, including:

Pecora In Perspective: Everything Old Is New Again
Pecora In Perspective: Why Do We Need A New Commission?
Pecora in Perspective: Glossary Of Useful Terms
Hank Greenburg and the AIG Mystery Stock Sale
Bill Black Responds To Pelosi’s Call For Pecora Commission
The Pecora Committee In Context: The Myth Of The Banking Culture
The Pecora Committee In Context: Mythbusting
To Bow Or Not To Bow To Wall Street

50 Responses to "New “Pecora Commission” To Be Named This Week? Who Would You Appoint?"
Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:25 am 1

Morning all — looks like we’ll be getting some rain here today. Which is good — we could use it.

Here’s the list of potential members from Kuttner — am interested to see who you all think would be good, too:

Some good nominees would be former SEC Commissioner Harvey Goldschmid, now a law professor at Columbia; Elizabeth Warren, Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel; Damon Silvers, the AFL-CIO’s top expert on financial markets and Deputy Chair of the oversight panel; economists Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia or Nouriel Roubini of NYU or James Galbraith of the University of Texas or Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research; one-time Wall Streeters and now astute financial critics Nomi Prins, Rob Johnson, Ron Bloom or Richard Bookstaber; former financial regulators Bill Black or Ellen Seidman; or law professors and deregulation critics Frank Partnoy of the University of San Diego or James D. Cox of Duke.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:56 am 2

FYI, I’m also hearing the names Bob Graham (former Sen. from Florida) and Bill Thomas (former House member, R-CA) floated around as former electeds for the commission, along with Fred Thompson’s name. The ossification of Beltway CW continues, I suppose.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:14 am 3

Also, from the Reuters article:

“The source, speaking anonymously because discussions were still ongoing, said other possible appointees include Bill Thomas, former Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; Jake Garn, former Republican senator; and Bob Graham, the former Democratic senator and Florida governor.”

foothillsmike | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:17 am 4

I think that any and all former senators and congresscritters should be banned.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:18 am 5
In response to foothillsmike @ 4

I was joking with someone this morning that if Phil Gramm’s name comes up, I’m throwing my hands up and running away.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:19 am 6

Maybe this would have been more fun as a “who would you never in your worst nightmares like to see near this?” *g*

foothillsmike | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:23 am 7

Put Stiglitz and Krugman on it. Also ban all banksters and former banksters.

Pade | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:27 am 8

How about Elliot Spitzer? Robert Reich? Yes to Elizabeth Warren, Stiglitz, Krugman. How about Ian Walsh?

foothillsmike | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:31 am 9
In response to Pade @ 8

Elliot Spitzer is a great idea.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:34 am 10
In response to Pade @ 8

I would love to see Elizabeth Warren on the list. But I fear she’s too honest and outspoken for the crew that will be doing the appointments. Which is a shame, because that’s exactly what we could use right now on an oversight and accountability level…

foothillsmike | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:37 am 11

Spitzer came out a winner yesterday with the SC ruling saying that the States had the right to prosecute predatory and other lending practices on their jurisdictions.

tejanarusa | Tuesday June 30, 2009 08:31 am 12

Elizabeth Warren was my instant first choice. She’s done a great job on the commission she’s already on, pointing out the problems in the “bailout”, despite being stonewalled by so many sources in turning over info needed.
I wonder if she’s given up on that one — would a Pecora-type commission be more effective, I wonder? If so, put her on it, for sure.

And yes, if Phil Gramm is named (OMFG) or anywhere near it – pitchforks and torches in the streets.
No bankers.
I’m tempted to say no economists trained in the last ten years – they seem to all be Straussian-Friedmanian believers. Still think inflation is scarier than depression because that’s all they’ve experienced.

tejanarusa | Tuesday June 30, 2009 08:32 am 13

And I should’ve added – yes to Spitzer – if Sanford gets to stay governor, why the hell haven’t we declared Spitzer “punished enough” and brought him back into the fold?

cbl2 | Tuesday June 30, 2009 08:48 am 14

Bill Black comes closest to Pecora in terms of passionate advocacy

Hugh | Tuesday June 30, 2009 11:40 am 15

These were Bill Black’s recommendations from an fdl discussion a while ago:

bill black and his recommendations, “Jack Blum and Saul Wisenberg (Dem., Rep) as counsel. Hire Dick Newsom and Chris Seefer as your key investigators.” also elizabeth warren…..nt-1863916

As Black noted you need to have really good counsel and investigators. The big name headliners are actually less important although disasters like Jake Garn and Fred Thompson should be avoided. I will have to wait and see but can’t help thinking that we will see a preponderance of Establishment status quo-ers, not reformers

Funnydiva2002 | Tuesday June 30, 2009 04:36 pm 16

Ah, Elizabeth Warren for sure, and Krugman, Stiglitz and anyone else who saw this coming and got it right.
I guess Ian Welsh isn’t eligible (Canuck?)
Masaccio? Scarecrow?
Dean Baker?


KyLafG | Tuesday June 30, 2009 04:41 pm 17

Gretchen Morgenson
Doug Henwood
Bob Kuttner
Marc Levinson
William Greider
Kevin Phillips
Jeff Faux
Paul Volcker
Dean Baker
Brad DeLong

hackworth1 | Tuesday June 30, 2009 04:51 pm 18

The Nation magazine recently praised Brooksley Born as one of those who sounded the alarm that a real estate bubble was occurring (and of course was ignored and/or chasitised for sharing her opinion) . If The Nation (magazine) likes her she might be alright.

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick – Fred Thompson? If he weren’t such a wealthy man, he’d be ready for a nursing home by now.

hackworth1 | Tuesday June 30, 2009 04:54 pm 19

IMHO, Obama might like Dick Cheney on the board. He’s smart, capable and – doggone it! – people hate him.

Funnydiva2002 | Tuesday June 30, 2009 04:55 pm 20
In response to hackworth1 @ 19

I like the way you think.
Add that it would be great for bipartisanship.

hackworth1 | Tuesday June 30, 2009 04:58 pm 21
In response to Funnydiva2002 @ 20

Can’t accuse Obama of not bending over backwards, doing backflips and twisting himself into a pretzel to accommodate bipartisanship for all the f*cking good it does him.

NorskeFlamethrower | Tuesday June 30, 2009 04:59 pm 22


Citizen Hardin Smith and the Firepup Freedom Fighters:

First off Galbraith the Younger, Krugman and Steiglitz would form a nucleus that would insure the “commission” gets the recent and more distant history right. I would also like to see Al Gore in the group to be able to keep the political story straight and Howard Dean would be invaluable to give perspective from state government experience as well as national politics. If they don’t get the New Deal history right and the post Reagan politics correct they won’t be worth a birth control perscription or condums for Sarah Pallin’s kids.


TarheelDem | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:04 pm 23

What categories of folks do you need on the commission?

1. People who understand the nitty gritty of how the securities markets have been working for the last couple of decades and who have not been compromised
2. Strong prosecutorial and investigative people
3. A chair who will not tolerate Republican obstruction or witness prevarication
4. Regulators who can imagine legislation and regulations that could deal with the problem in the future
5. Someone with a direct line to a prosecutor with a grand jury
6. A prominent businessperson who understands the necessity to get this issue fixed, preferably one with Main Street cred
7. A labor pension fund lawyer

greenwarrior | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:06 pm 24
In response to Pade @ 8

those plus bill black

Synoia | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:06 pm 25

Eliott Spitzer. Has a bit of experience.
Jonh Yoo. If they won’t talk, then….enhance it.
Dick Addington. Need a bit f determination.
Scooter libbey. We ned an expert at lying.
Antonine Scalia., John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Alito (they’d have to recuse themselves later)

greenwarrior | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:09 pm 26

have i mentioned lately that i’m tired of “off the table” pelosi?

Hugh | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:12 pm 27

The kind of people you need for a Pecora commission are people with intimate knowledge of Wall Street who can understand how the scams were accomplished and who directed them and who carried them out. I would put Meredith Whitney, Yves Smith, Bill Black, Robert Johnson, and Nomi Prins in that category.

I don’t think Krugman can be objective wrt Bernanke or Roubini with Summers. Stiglitz, Galbraith, or Baker would be good for general leadership and direction.

I definitely think that Matt Taibbi should write the final report.

TobyWollin | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:13 pm 28


readerOfTeaLeaves | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:15 pm 29

Because so much of this traces to derivatives (sometimes also called ’swaps’), and because derivatives are basically computer code, it the Commission doesn’t have a good IT and/or programmer who is also good at explaining to the rest of the commission, they’re going to miss some issues.

Also on my DreamList:
Nomi Prins – former insider who understands the details as well as the Big Picture
Steiglitz – saw it coming
Warren – (agree she may be ‘too ethical’)
Morgenstern – like Prins, a very clear communicator who has a lot of background knowledge
Kevin Phillips – has a tremendous synthesis of modern history and economics

Basharov | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:15 pm 30

What’s Henry Kissinger doing these days?

Seriously though: Krugman, Stiglitz, and Roubini.

Hugh | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:15 pm 31

I almost forgot and, of course, Brooksley Born and Michael Greenberger.

conniptionfit | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:15 pm 32

Warren, Krugman, Stiglitz, Spitzer, Baker, and…Hardin-Smith!

Suzanne | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:18 pm 33

bunny greenhouse as commission liaison for the whistleblowers

Twain | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:20 pm 34

I like many of the ones named above but could we please demand that there be no former members of Congress?
Thompson? good gawd !

readerOfTeaLeaves | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:25 pm 35
In response to readerOfTeaLeaves @ 29

And FDL’s masaccio!

NorskeFlamethrower | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:25 pm 36
In response to Hugh @ 27

Citizen Hugh:

I think you are underestimating Krugman’s itellectual honesty, Brother Hugh…in my mind if Krugman, Galbraith and Stiglitz aren’t on it then there is no credibility for the recounting of the recent economic behavior and analysis of the politics that determined that behavior. And if deference to Bernanke is gunna be a criterion for appearance on the commission then it’s failed before it begins.

dosido | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:26 pm 37

This is sort of tongue in cheek but not:

How about an Alex Mundy It Takes a Thief situation and nominate Andy Fastow?

dosido | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:28 pm 38
In response to Twain @ 34

That really should be the standard. No one who held office or wants to. Immediate disqualification. But then that would rule out Spitzer, but he could consult maybe…?

dosido | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:31 pm 39

And Sherron Watkins (Enron whistleblower)

good idea!

NorskeFlamethrower | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:32 pm 40
In response to dosido @ 38

Citizen dosido:

A politician like Al Gore or Spitzer would be fine because they don’t have an immediate elected political future…political hacks or wannabees lookin’ for some media face time are out but don’t limit the pool to those who don’t have direct experience and familiarity with the political economy that got us here.

Hugh | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:45 pm 41

But Krugman does defer to Bernanke who hired him at Princeton and essentially laid the foundation for Krugman’s success. Roubini too avoids criticism of Summers and the other guys who were with him when he was at Treasury.

montanamaven | Tuesday June 30, 2009 05:49 pm 42

I wrote a diary here awhile back and said “we need a new Ferdinand Pecora”… The commission itself wasn’t successful until they hired Pecora and he began his devastating questioning. There was great theater because he was an immigrant who was taking on the wealthy Wall Street elite American aristocracy. So it was about the story… self made immigrant lawyer against the rich.

Unfortunately, John Edwards is discredited. But that’s the kind of small town boy withers the titans kind of story needed. Or small town girl… Elizabeth Warren is still a top choice. A Clarence Darrow. Anyway, a trial lawyer of lowly background who can humiliate.

Pecora said it was the story that galvanized the American people and they demanded change and got it.

Funnydiva2002 | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:10 pm 43
In response to hackworth1 @ 21

His good isn’t my primary concern.
My problem is with all the good that it does for you, me, Firepups and the rest of the American People.


Kassandra | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:33 pm 44

Spitzer, Krugman and Turley…Who nominated Thompson???

sunshine | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:40 pm 45
In response to Twain @ 34

I also don’t want any former or current members of congress or any other gov agency. I also agree with Ian Welsh. And Warren Buffett.

smith9898 | Tuesday June 30, 2009 06:45 pm 46

I think the picks should be REICH,KRUGMAN,STIGLIZ,DEAN BAKER,CREIDER, WARREN,BAKER,ROUBINI to name a few,they must have or come with special powers to examine everything and everyone. A time frame for such a commision and tell all that happen to insure it does not happen again.

barbara | Tuesday June 30, 2009 07:01 pm 47

Playing catch-up. Norske, fwiw, I think you’re right. I imagine your heart will go pitty-pat upon receiving that news.

MarkH | Tuesday June 30, 2009 10:17 pm 48
In response to Pade @ 8

I thought of Ian too.

Who was the author of that book last year that said it was too easy and he was retiring early? I forget his name, but he basically said f’ off you’re all stupid and I’ve got a ton of money, so I’m retiring.

If you understand how it works that well, then you might just know where all the tricks and garbage are.

Eric Lotke | Wednesday July 1, 2009 07:52 am 49

The names being listed again and again, I like too — Elizabeth Warren, James Galbraith, Stiglitz, if willing to serve.

But let’s not forget Damon Silvers — from the AFL, and presently serving as COP with Warren.
And Dean Baker would be great.

Among the candidates closer to the establishment, I understand Brookesly Borne to be closest to what we need.

For the record: We’ve been collecting writings on the Pecora subject on our web page,

Go, team!

Eric Lotke | Wednesday July 1, 2009 07:53 am 50

I comment on myself: I forget to mention Spitzer. A great way for him to rehabilitate himself.

Sorry but the comments are closed on this post