Thank Justice Department for Suing Credit-Rating Agencies for Policies Leading to Financial Crisis

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Target: United States Attorney General Eric Holder

Goal: Praise the government’s civil action against Standard & Poor’s, a credit-rating agency partially responsible for the financial meltdown.

Without a doubt, a major cause of the U.S.’s recent financial downturn was credit-rating agencies, whose high ratings on poor mortgage securities helped inflate the bubble that eventually burst, causing the downturn. Until last week, it seemed as if these agencies were going to emerge unscathed from this disaster, despite posting record profits during the years leading up to the crisis. Now that the Justice department filed civil fraud charges against Standard & Poor’s, the nation’s largest credit-rating agency, there is a glimmer of hope that at least one of the companies responsible for the mess our country is in will pay for the damage it caused.

The suit against S&P alleges that the company “knowingly and with the intent to defraud, devised, participated in, and executed a scheme to defraud investors” in certain mortgage-related securities, and that the agency falsely represented that its ratings “were objective, independent, uninfluenced by any conflicts of interest.” Originally, the government simply sought a settlement deal with S&P. The deal proposed was a $1 billion dollar settlement with the company, but S&P was reluctant. When the company resisted, the government responded by bringing  this suit, which seeks $5 billion in damages.

By signing this petition you will laud the government’s persistence in making sure that at least one of the companies responsible for the financial downturn that our country weathered over the past five years is held accountable for its actions.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear United States Attorney General Eric Holder,

I am writing you this letter today to praise your persistence in holding Standard & Poor responsible for the financial meltdown our country experienced roughly five years ago. Without a doubt, its artificially high ratings on untenable mortgage securities tricked thousands into taking loans that were past their means.

When S&P was reluctant to settle for $1 billion (a number they should have been happy to accept, I should add), you upped the ante with a $5 billion civil suit and for this I thank you. Real regulation to stop this from happening again is the ultimate goal, but I am happy knowing the Justice Department is trying to hold at least one company accountable for causing this mess.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: walknboston via Flickr

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