At every step along the way, FCIC Chairman Phil Angelides -- the former Democratic state treasurer of California -- undermined his panel's credibility and squandered taxpayer money by refusing to conduct his work in an open manner. He constantly complained about having too little time (more than a year) and insufficient funding ($6 million from taxpayers, not including the salaries of civil service detailees from the Federal Reserve and Treasury, among other government agencies).
WhenThe Examiner requested resumes and other information on each commission staff member, Angelides refused until we editorialized about the commission's marked lack of transparency. He then released a partial staff list that did not include names of contractors or staff salaries. When we uncovered evidence of multiple conflicts of interest among the commission's staff, Angelides simply refused to talk about who he hired or why, even as he acknowledged the possibility of those conflicts.
No wonder Republican commissioner Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute said the "bipartisan" process that was supposed to prevail in the commission's deliberations was "not well-managed." Wallison noted that "we had 15 months to do this study, and it should have been completed on time." A source familiar with the FCIC's work toldThe Examiner that the commission's partisan atmosphere intensified after the November election, with multiple roll call votes required merely to resolve even simple issues like language.
Republican commissioner Keith Hennessey said the majority voted en masse "to limit the minority's opportunity to express our views in the commercial book version of the upcoming report. In a 512-page book that will be for sale at commercial bookstores, those who dissent are now allotted nine pages each." When he suggested increasing the length of the commercial book to allow room for additional views, he was turned down because it "might add $1 to the sale price of the book."