Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission a rare case of bipartisanship

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Kitty Felde/KPCC

Phil Angelides and former California congressman Bill Thomas, a fellow Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission member

There was a rare showing of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill last week … mostly because the only politicians around were the ones no longer in office. Democrats and Republicans worked together to cast Wall Street as the bad guy.

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is looking into the country’s financial meltdown.

The chair is the former head of the California Democratic Party Phil Angelides; the vice-chair is Republican Bill Thomas — Bakersfield’s congressman for nearly three decades. Both men skewered bank execs at last week’s hearing for failing to realize that subprime loans and complex derivative deals were kicking their assets off a cliff.

Angelides says one reason there’s no partisan bickering on the commission is that no one’s running for re-election. But he says there’s another reason, "I think we all take seriously the fact that something very bad has happened to tens of millions of Americans and to communities across this country and this is bigger than party."

Angelides admits there’s “dialogue and discussion” behind the scenes. But he points out that he and his Republican colleague Bill Thomas share the view that executives who crashed their banks shouldn’t get a big payday for doing it.

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