WASHINGTON – A new independent commission to investigate the cause of the financial meltdown and chart the nation’s path ahead will lean left politically, with Democrats getting to pick six members and Republicans four.
While a Republican senator helped write the legislation creating the commission, and nearly all congressional Republicans have endorsed the measure, the uneven split on the proposed Financial Markets Inquiry Commission could call into question the group’s impartiality and hamper its ability to raise consensus on the issue.
While it is not uncommon for a congressionally appointed panel to favor the majority party, high-profile issues often are given an even split to try to generate consensus.
The president hasn’t received the bill yet and already the 6-4 split designated in the measure has prompted partisan bickering.
In a statement Wednesday, Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., of “political opportunism” for putting the bill on the House floor.
Under the bill, the commission would focus on more than 20 areas, including how the government failed to protect investors and the role financial fraud may have played in the meltdown. The group would be able to issue subpoenas to interview witnesses and demand documents before it reports its findings by Dec. 15, 2010.