You are here:HomeIssuesProtecting State Insurance Regulation 2009Senate Votes to Create Commission, Select Committee to Investigate Financial Meltdown

Senate Votes to Create Commission, Select Committee to Investigate Financial Meltdown

Support is building on Capitol Hill for the creation of an investigative body to probe the causes of the financial meltdown. The U.S. Senate voted...
April 28, 2009

Support is building on Capitol Hill for the creation of an investigative body to probe the causes of the financial meltdown. The U.S. Senate voted on April 22 to create an independent commission to investigate the cause of the worst U.S. economic crisis in decades. The commission would have subpoena power, 18 months to investigate the financial crisis and the authority to refer to the U.S. attorney general and state attorneys general any evidence that institutions or individuals violated the law. At the end of its probe, the commission would report its findings and recommendations to Congress.

The Senate also approved an amendment by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to create a Senate select committee to study the crisis. They said the select committee comprised of Senators and modeled after the Watergate Committee would complement the work of the independent commission.  In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), has gotten behind the idea of creating a commission to study the crisis, likening it to a similar Senate commission installed during the Great Depression.

What It Means to Agents:  An investigation could focus more attention on the root causes of the financial meltdown: lack of federal supervision in banking, securities and capital markets. A public probe would provide state regulators with the opportunity to emphasize how state regulation of insurance protected the industry and its policyholders. A select committee of lawmakers, as opposed to an independent committee comprised of experts with their own regulatory philosophies, might be more impartial.

Senate Votes to Create Panel (Bloomberg News 4/22/09)