What was the Commission's process for requesting information?

The Commission is committed to getting the information it needs to conduct a fair and thorough investigation. The law creating the Commission (Section 5 of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009) says the following regarding the tools we were given to gather documents and information:

The Commission may secure directly from any department, agency, bureau, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality of the United States any information related to any inquiry of the Commission conducted under this section, including information of a confidential nature (which the Commission shall maintain in a secure manner). Each such department, agency, bureau, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality shall furnish such information directly to the Commission upon request.

In addition, the Commission has the power to:

require, by subpoena or otherwise, the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents.

The Commission moved forward as expeditiously as possible to obtain the information it needed to fulfill its mission. In that vein, the Commission treated any delays with the utmost seriousness. Therefore, it was the standard practice that recipients of letters from the Commission requesting information confirm in writing that they would comply in a timely manner. In the event of a failure to provide confirmation of compliance, or if there was a failure to provide the requested materials in a timely manner, the Commission used its subpoena power to compel compliance.

Did the Commission swear in all witnesses?

The Commission swore in all public witnesses.

How many hearings did the Commission hold?

The Commission held a total of 19 days of public hearings in Washington, New York, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Bakersfield and Miami on topics including but not limited to: complex financial derivatives, credit rating agencies, government-sponsored enterprises, the shadow banking system, subprime lending practices and securitization, and too big to fail.

What was the Commission doing when it was not holding public hearings?

The Commission had a full team of investigators and researchers working to examine the causes of the financial crisis. The vast majority of this work was done out of the public eye through meetings, interviews and review of public and private documents and information.

Did the Commission make public all of the documents it gathered in its investigation?

It was very important to the Commission that the American people are able to look at the material the Commission reviewed to determine its conclusions. Thus, the Commission created the Archive section of the web site.

What happens to the information the Commission received that isn’t in the Archives?

All of the material the Commission gathered was delivered to the US National Archives when the Commission ceased operations in February 2011. As is customary, the Commission’s general counsel worked with the National Archives to develop a schedule for that information to be released.