Target: National Archives and Records Administration
Goal: Release documents that examine the cause of the 2008 financial meltdown so that they may be viewed by the public.
In 2008, the United States suffered the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, resulting in government bailouts and the collapse of financial institutions. In the years since the 2008 collapse, many have questioned the roots of the crisis, believing that the collapse was not the result of inevitable economic factors, but rather of calculated greed. Much evidence (including email exchanges and other company documents) suggests that these financial institutions were participating in subprime lending—that is, issuing home ownership loans to unqualified borrowers.
In addition to subprime lending, other factors which contributed to the “housing bubble” are thought to be corrupt ratings agencies which rated securities as AAA (very secure) when they really weren’t and other financial institution practices which effectively deceived the American people. The Senate’s Levin-Coburn report stated that the financial meltdown was caused by “high risk, complex financial products; undisclosed conflicts of interest; the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street.”
But not all information has been made public, and the people who are believed most responsible for the financial crisis have thus far escaped with slaps on the wrist (if even that). The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) put out its final report in 2011, but this report is not comprehensive: much of the details have not been made available to the public. The group Cause of Action has filed a lawsuit for the release of these findings, but a district court judge has alleged that the documents are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
While Republicans claim that the financial crisis was caused by the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the American people deserve to know whatever is really true about the financial crisis of 2008. The chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission himself, Phil Angelides, has stated, “there’s going to be a very conscious, deliberate effort to rewrite history, to wave this away like it was a bump in the road.” Surely not revealing that history is a part of this attempted rewrite. The saying goes that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it—and that also goes for those who don’t know the full story behind the history. Sign this petition to ask for the release of these documents.
Dear National Archives and Records Administration,
In your possession, you have the full documents of the report written by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. I believe that these documents should be made available to the public, as per the Freedom of Information Act. Cause of Action has made a similar claim and is now appealing the court’s ruling that the report is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. In the past, you already indicated that you would eventually release these documents, although there has been no definitive sign that you will do so.
I am writing to request that you make the full version of the investigative report public. Given that the financial crisis of 2008 has had enormous effects on the public and was, in essence, a massive crisis for homeowners and anyone doing business with these financial institutions, everyone has a right to be fully informed about what happened in 2008. To provide only a selective reporting of the facts is to obscure history and to obscure the truth, whatever that may be. Please make the full report public for the sake of the larger truth.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mike Fleshman via Flickr