Thursday, May 21, 2009

Isakson Praises Signing of Law to Investigate Economic Crisis

Independent, Bipartisan Financial Crisis Commission Would Have Subpoena Power

Yesterday U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., praised the signing by President Obama of a financial fraud bill that includes his proposal with U.S. Senator Kent Conrad, D-N.D., to create a Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission charged with fully investigating the causes of the near collapse of our financial markets and our economy.

“This is a great day for the American people, who demand and deserve some answers. I’m pleased the President understood the importance of signing this bill into law quickly so we can get those answers to what caused this financial collapse,” Isakson said. “We need a forensic audit of the damage to the financial markets and our economy so we can find out where mistakes were made and ensure we don’t make them again.”

“My constituents deserve answers. The American people deserve answers. They have every right to know where mistakes were made, and why our financial system spiraled downward so far, so fast. If it is discovered that laws were broken or any wrongdoing led our nation down this path, people must be held accountable,” Senator Conrad said.Isakson and Conrad originally introduced legislation in January 2009 to examine the causes of the current economic crisis. On April 22, the Senate overwhelmingly passed an amendment by Isakson and Conrad to the Senate’s version of the financial fraud bill that would create a Financial Crisis Commission.

On May 6, the House of Representatives passed the financial fraud bill, including the Financial Crisis Commission, with amendments by a vote of 367 to 59. On May 14, the Senate, on a unanimous consent motion, agreed to relatively small changes to the bill and sent it back to the House. On May 18, the House agreed to the Senate’s changes and sent the bill to President Obama for his signature.

The 10-member, bipartisan Financial Crisis Commission will have until December 2010 to investigate all the circumstances that led to this financial crisis. The panel will have subpoena power and will have the authority to refer to the U.S. Attorney General and state attorneys general any evidence that institutions or individuals may have violated existing laws. At the end of its investigation, the Commission will report its findings and conclusions to the Congress and the President.

This bipartisan Commission will be appointed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress. The Speaker and Senate Democratic Leader would choose the commission’s chair. The Senate and House Republican Leaders would select the vice-chair. Members of Congress as well as federal and state employees would be prohibited from serving on the Commission.
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