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Franken Calls for Oversight of Ratings Agencies

Posted on Aug 12, 2011

By Joe Conason

With world markets suddenly sagging under the weight of Standard & Poor’s Aug. 5 downgrade of Treasury bonds, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is disturbed by the monopolistic power of the ratings agencies—and still determined to curb their abuses, as he tried to do last year with an amendment to the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill.

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In an exclusive Monday interview for The National Memo, the Minnesota Democrat said that the misconduct of the ratings agencies led directly to the economic catastrophe that S&P’s rating decision has made even worse. Franken wondered aloud why his proposed reforms of the ratings industry should still be subject to “study” rather than action by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

By setting up an independent federal board to assign ratings jobs to the agencies—rather than letting them be paid by those who issue the securities they grade—his proposal would have severed the industry’s gross conflicts of interest. Known as the “issuer pays” model, that traditional relationship let the banks reward S&P and Moody’s for awarding rubber-stamp AAA ratings to worthless mortgage-backed securities (as they did for years before the housing bubble burst).

It was those abuses, Franken said, that left taxpayers, workers and government “holding the bag” while the bankers and ratings firms walked away with huge profits. “What I was trying to do was open this business to more competition,” he said. “And then ultimately, as time went on, the track record of accuracy would be the thing that determined who got what (contract) and who got to grade (which securities). You’d be rewarded for accuracy instead of bribery. Put those alongside each other—bribery, accuracy. Accuracy, bribery, hmm.” He laughed. “Which method do you think will probably yield a better product, a more transparent product?”

He recalled, “The problem wasn’t just that (the ratings agencies) gave these AAA ratings to subprime mortgage securities. It’s that after the banks ran out of subprime mortgages to securitize, they then gave AAA ratings to bets on subprime. They created an entire other ‘market’ based on so-called derivatives that allowed the banks to bet on (or against) the future value of those assets.


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“Basically, the banks were going like, ‘Oh, man, we’ve run out of these subprime mortgage-backed securities; we can’t make any more money with these things. Wait a minute. Why don’t we do derivatives of them? Great idea! You know what? We need AAA ratings, though. ... No problem! We’ll just go to our pals, the guys we’ve been paying for these other AAA ratings, and ask them to rate these! Wink wink.” He laughed again. “And then they did those!”

The result, said Franken, was the construction of a “house of cards” that became “bets on bets.” To award AAA ratings to those securities was “unconscionable and unbelievable,” he added, “but it created the market that led to this collapse.”

In his view, the way to prevent similar abuses in the future is “to open this business to more competition,” with reforms overseen by a board composed mainly of institutional investors, as well as members from the ratings agencies and the investment banking community. Rating firms that are smaller than S&P and Moody’s would have a better chance to compete under such a system, he said, “because they would develop expertise” in certain areas of finance. Big and small firms alike “might be rewarded for their diligence, intelligence and ingenuity” rather than their prejudicial treatment of dubious investment vehicles. “They’d get more business if they’re more accurate and less business if they’re less accurate.” The old-fashioned American way of doing business? “Yeah, I think there was a time when that was rewarded,” he said sardonically.

Franken’s own reward, most recently, was a strange editorial in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, which accused him of protecting the oligopoly enjoyed by the three major ratings agencies. “You know how usually they bend the truth?” he said of the notoriously conservative Rupert Murdoch-owned daily’s editorial page. “Well, this is the opposite of the truth. I was the nemesis of the rating agencies. When my amendment passed, the rating agencies’ stocks went down the next day.”

Although the Franken amendment passed the Senate by a substantial margin, with many Republican votes, his proposed reforms were delayed by a two-year study of the problem now under way at the SEC. “I don’t know why you need to do much of a study on this thing,” he said. “We know what happened. This is like doing a study on whether using steroids is a good idea for ballplayers.” There was Republican opposition to his reforms, especially in the tea party-dominated House. But according to Franken, it was Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.—then the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee—who told him that the ratings agencies needed to be studied further because “unintended consequences” might result if his reforms were implemented immediately.

“I said, ‘What in this bill couldn’t conceivably have unintended consequences?’ ” he said. “Everything could possibly have unintended consequences.” He laughed again. “We’d never pass anything if it had to be held up to that standard.”

And, of course, there could be unintended consequences from doing nothing, as well—as we are now learning. Franken said that he doesn’t know how much money the ratings agencies earned from past abuses.

“The banks made their money. The ratings agencies made their money. And all of us are left holding the bag, with this high rate of unemployment and the inability of small businesses to get capital, which makes unemployment worse. And they’re still making fortunes now.”

Joe Conason is the editor in chief of

© 2011

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, August 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

Police raid Milan offices of Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s
Chief prosecutor of Trani conducts investigation into whether the two rating
agencies abide by regulations

The raids took place on Wednesday as Silvio Berlusconi addressed parliament

As stock and bond markets across the world tumbled on fears about Italy and
Spain, it emerged that police acting on orders from prosecutors had raided the
Milan offices of rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s as part of
continuing investigations into their role in the recent financial turmoil.

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By sallysense, August 15, 2011 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

hiya d r zing… seems the more some folks wanna look for opinions to hedge their bets on… seems the less they wanna face the facts…

just look at the facts… the managements and enmeshments say a lot too… (along with the revenue)...

the systems at work have intertwined cogwheels so ingrained into each and one another… that they’re own services lack the viable credentials it takes to actually perform authentic work in the first place…

(and that’s just these rating agencies etc… add to that the overwhelming barrages of the rest of all corporate monetary production… with business systems more incorporated with other business systems… than they are with the representation of their own company name!)...

and are you saying that mortal idiots… are those who critique everybody else’s opinions more deeply… than even their own depth of focus on the facts ?...

(and this mortal’s nothin’ more… nothin’ less… and nothin’ much!... for sure too!)... smile

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By diman, August 15, 2011 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Actually this rating agency should have lowered american rating 5 years ago.

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By SteveL, August 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

By Lafayette, August 14 at 1:43 am Link to this comment
SL: No one in the world of investing pays any attention to the rating agencies
No one in your world perhaps.

You mentioned fraud at least twice in your post.  Fraud has always been illegal.  If
the administration does not want to enforce the laws more laws will not matter. 
These are the same agencies that AAA rated the mortgage packages.  This is far
from the only fraud they were involved in.  Take the jury approach to liars.  Liars
lie all the time and is a waste to figure out when they are not.

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D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, August 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

To my beloved Grokker,

I do not grok what you must obviously grok because if I did grok what you grok I wouldn’t think what you’re saying is a crock.  Actually, I do grok what you grok and do not think it is a crock.  I just like the way it all sounds.  You want us to go back to the gold standard. You’re a libertarian, I bet. You people are so damned irritating when you talk about money and the Fed because what you say makes perfect sense. I just don’t see how to get there. No matter.  Life is short. And I am an idiot. Just because I don’t see the answer or because it may not happen in my lifetime or yours doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Eventually.  Remember the words of Frederick Douglas:  “Agitate. Agitate.”

Lafayette.  If we’re gonna put someone else in charge of the national money situation, make it the whores. I’ve never met one yet who doesn’t have the monetary acumen of a goddamn CPA.  This will cost you a hundred, that’s five hundred, that’s a thousand.  Ah, the unspeakable atrocities of it all!  Altogether now: Whores rule the fed!  Whores rule the fed! Whores rule the fed! 

Gorgeous.  How has Obama been bought and paid for?  Ah, with credit cards of course! We saved ten percent on our first purchase. 

litlpeep. I ignore his ignoble tenacity.  I find his politeness supercilious, his sincerity lugubrious and I’m certain we do indeed suffer from imperial hubris.

SteveL. I don’t think the horse ran away so much as shit the bed.  Time to clean the stall, throw out the hay, piss on the fire, the hunt’s over and all that kind of stuff. 

Lafayette.  Cool. I really like that last post. Thank you. It’s a good explanation. I read it twice and couldn’t understand it. No worries. I’m an idiot. Your point at the bottom tied it all together for me and I agree completely.

blogdog. The problem with a cat-o-nine tails it is often involves some sort of manual reach around maneuver and it’s therefore never harsh enough. Other than that little quibble I have no quarrels with your points or solutions.

My point is this: 

* Our economic system is pure superstition. For example, the only qualification for a product going to market is that it doesn’t kill anyone straight away and that it sells. That’s insanity. 

* Paying people oceanic loads of money do nothing more than to buy and sell companies—I’m talking about CEO’s here, mergers and acquisitions, not stock purchasers—is an insane waste of resources and insanely stupid.

* There is too much money in too few hands and that’s why all this stupid shit is going on in Wall Street. Spread the money around a bit. Make bankers invest in small businesses.

* Computer-based trading is and will continue to be a total cluster fuck.  We dodged a bullet last week. Something must be done to limit the speed and volume of trading. 

* No economic system, no political system, no religious or philosophical system can work when the world is overpopulated.  We have to get population under control global before we can even consider fixing the economic issues. If we don’t address human overpopulation, the planet will.     

* Back to point A:  Our economic system is pure superstition.  We’re still reading omens in entrails—unfortunately, our own.

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By D.R. Zing, August 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

Hold on!  We’ve got our balls in all the wrong places.  We’re missing a ball. 

This is such an egregious omission I cannot believe the editors at TruthDig let it stand. I cannot believe Senator Franken was misquoted in such a whoreson manner.  Without a doubt he most certainly said: “This is like doing a study on whether using steroids is a good idea for ballplayers’ balls.” 

Because indubitably steroids are good for ballplayers.  They are good for baseball.  And football. And bicycling. And diving. And swimming. They are just not good for balls at all. They shrivel balls.  But who cares? It’s like barring computers from genome calculations.  Barring supercomputers from astrophysics.  Barring nightvision goggles from soldiers.  Give our ballplayers steroids and let the balls fall where they may. 

Now, to the subject at hand—

Hmm. Hondo.  Good idea.  I want to see Congress stripped of power and held accountable, right after I see members of congress strip and hold accountants. If only that damn constitution didn’t get in the way! 

TDoff, ah, you forget, my friend, we live in the most tightly controlled country in the world. Each and everyone of us could be destroyed quicker than any other citizens in the world. It’s easier to find us. And no where else is the public pillory of television more successfully applied to symbolically sodomize protestors and revolutionaries in the public square. Who dares speak up in the land of au pairs when the media have you by the short and curly hairs?   

prisnersdilema.  We do?  Please enlighten us, katroo.

Lafayette, are you from America?  Then punctuate quotation marks like a goddamn American!  If you don’t know how to punctuate them, don’t use them.  If you’re gonna use newspaper/media jargon (for example, perp walk), then open a goddamn newspaper, look at how they punctuate quotation marks, and make a fucking note!  Jesus!  You people drive me nuts.  That said, I agree with your point completely and apologize fully for my asinine rant about nothing. I shall burn in hell for this type of thing. Rest assured. I do you love you. 

Minnie. Don’t thank people. For the love of God!  You’re supposed to be rude and snotty and redundant. We’ve got a reputation to keep up here. Scheez! 

SarcastiCanuck.  You’ve got it all wrong. Barney the Janitor goes ballistic when he slips in his own piss, as does the Republican Tea Party when their squirts go amiss. 

Michael Cavlan RN. I apologize.  But please provide some links or citations that lend some credibility to your implication that Senator Franken is of Republican inclination.  And may you burn in hell with me and my mother for bursting my bubble, whether your allegations are true or not. Nothing more irritating than a contrarian. Jesus, I’m so sorry.  I do apologize.  I’m not sorry!  Screw you!  Ha-ha-ha-ha! 

Aarky.  Any horse beating is a good horse beating.  Thanks for the info.  I’ll lurk around for verification. Maybe. Probably not, really. A link would be nice. Thanks.

Braddockbrat. Yes. And the sky is blue. Water is wet. I need to clean my house too! But, yes, I do agree completely:  Signing a pledge not to raise taxes during a time of war is the equivalent of putting a loaded gun in your mouth and testing the trigger. 

sallysense. You really piss me off because I sense you’re making a point I cannot grok. Unless your point is simply that credit rating companies make billions a year. Please spell out your point for us mortal idiots. 

CanDoJack.  You’ve got it all wrong. Congress is a bunch of lawyers who wear ties to keep their foreskins from creeping up over their heads. 

phreedom. Please, for the love God, tell me English is not your first language. I agree with you, I think.  And I apologize for being a jerk. Keep writing. And reading. 

Here’s the deal. Banks know they must break the middle class to keep the current system going. It’s up to us to stop them.

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By blogdog, August 14, 2011 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

RE: “Can it be fixed…with…a great deal of wailing…they are at the origin of the

Indeed - where’s the cat-o-nine tails when you need it - but, if that seems too
harsh, then let’s just follow the rule of law:

INVESTIGATE - INDITE - PROSECUTE - EXECUTE - to the full measure of the law

and, of course, again make illegal, DERIVATIVES

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By Lafayette, August 14, 2011 at 1:43 am Link to this comment


SL: No one in the world of investing pays any attention to the rating agencies anyway.

No one in your world perhaps.

But, as only one example, if you are responsible for a pension fund anywhere in the world you look to invest your funds in “safe debt instruments” to have a secure return ... you pay attention and mightily.


The fraud was complex:
* It involved Main Street that offered Credits/Loans with little or no creditworthiness verification and were thus sub-prime.
* It involved Wall Street that packaged these loans, gave them Triple-A ratings and “securitized”
them by selling them forward to Debt Investors. With securitization, the Investment Banks took their cut and sent the rest back to the originating sub-prime lenders.(Who then made more subprime loans.)
* Down the line to the point of origin, the middlemen above made a profit. Up the Line, debt holders and Down the Line property “owners” got shafted.

We have two worlds clashing. That of Wall Street Finance seeking willfully profitable business and entities (often individuals) seeking a return (on Debt Instruments) that is non-speculative, well-founded and thus (almost) guaranteed.

Once upon a time, for nations, these were Debt Investor Sovereign Funds that buy government Debt Instruments (Treasury bills, notes and bonds). For public entities, like cities, states, they invest in other Debt Instruments, some public, some corporate.

Which is why the label “Real Estate Backed Instruments” was crucial. It lent weight to the decision for Debt Investors to buy the instrument. So some cities (one in Germany, one in Norway) bought such instruments and, because they have become worthless, will have a hole in their budget for years to come.


The financial damage was both direct and collateral - and the world will not forget for a long time that it was due to America’s version of Unbridled Unregulated Capitalism.

Can it be fixed. Yes, of course, with further regulation of Financial Intermediaries and a great deal of wailing on their part. Which is real tough—but they are at the origin of the fraud.

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By SteveL, August 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

This horse ran away a long time ago.  Close the barn door now.?  No one in the
world of investing pays any attention to the rating agencies anyway.

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By litlpeep, August 13, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

It is refreshing to see Frankin’s noble efforts and his tenacity.

But will he be over-ignobled and out-tenacityed by President Obstruction?

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By Gorgeous, August 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

Congress hasn’t funded Dodd Frank. - No matter how you look at it as long as Republicans can control any part of the Government Americans lose…. of course I say that looking at how Obama’s been bought and paid for.

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By Lafayette, August 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment


grok: Well, Mr. Franken, not only is it a bit too late to “legislate” solutions to this, but who is going to oversee the overseers once Wall Street buys them?

Elizabeth Warren could have but this is not the battle ground of a Consumer Agency.

That leaves the Fed that should oversee banking markets. Debt Instruments is a bank market, so its their responsibility.

Then again, given the Fed’s past record in market oversight, maybe the Boy Scouts are a better choice? ;^)

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By grokker, August 13, 2011 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Well, Mr. Franken, not only is it a bit too late to “legislate” solutions to this, but who is going to oversee the overseers once Wall Street buys them? Unless fractional reserve banking is eliminated along with the Fed, and other forms of money are implemented, there will be no solutions to practically any problem facing America economically.

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By phreedom, August 13, 2011 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Part 1

Thank you Joe,

Yes, let us not forget that any new Senators or House
members who were actually Democrats, who came to
office with the appropriate mindset, to do the
people’s business that the people demanded by virtue
of their vote, well, these hopefull feww were
nullified pretty much, by their so called seniors. 
Their momentum and energy taken away with senior
Senate and House members who used the creepy and
mysterious excuse of the dreaded “unintended
consequences”. Sort of a corrupt and insincere
action-reaction theory, or “one thing always leads to
another”, innuendo,, that assumes a negative moral
component/result, but also demands a silent collusion
by its’ target or fall guy/girl.

The right wing and the right left have been using
this “unintended consequences” phrase for some time
now,, it is basically a threat, a very clever 2 sided
sword. It has nothing to do with concern for results
that may the “people’s” circumstances more difficult,
and is purely a double threat to the an upstart with
appropriate intentions, that their career or
effectiveness might be put in peril,,,  and to the
group of people demanding their rights, that whatever
situation they are trying to alleviate themselves
from, well, will get worse for them, “if they push

I think everyone should write down this “unintended
consequences”, statement/phrase, on a little piece of
paper and keep in their wallet or purse, so to keep
it in mind, and constantly listen for it from someone
in authority or political power. If anyone uses this
phrase, trust me, they are jerking you around.

I think another important slew of words to keep in
mind, and maybe scribbled on that handy little piece
of paper tucked in one’s wallet or purse, well, is
the “bet on a bet”, phrase, which constitutes a vital
and “extremely” fundamental insight or observation
into how our system stays afloat, and what truly
motivates it. Our whole investment paradigm has very
little to do with raising capital or creating
value(identifying value, fostering value) and far
more with placing “bets on bets” to increase already
established wealth, a truly non-reinvesting sort of
motivation.  The risk of investment, and certainly
the risk of re-investment into the tangible value of
our society and/or its’ infrastructure, well, is this
essential risk to keep culture glued together and
solvent, well, this risk is not worth taking if one
can instead gamble with the margin between what is
not lost through the nature of material
risk/investment and the monetary profit one could
realize turning, that would be material
risk/investment, into airy fairy chips to be used to
bet at the roulette tables, of the various
stock/commodity exchanges, or as barter in the
secret and private betting rooms where derivatives
are traded.

A “bet on bet” investment model creates debt with no
underlying material thing or asset, and because the
debt is not based on the creation, purchase or
replacement of assets, there is no limit on high the
debt can go,,as we have seen.

Senator Franken is right, there is a monopoly in the
rating agency business, but our system is hugely
littered with informal monopolies of so called
expediency and/or in the name of efficiency. S&P,
Moody’s, whoever, whatever, are appropriate
institutions within an economic system that has
become nothing more than a casino.

Rhuen Phreed
231 Park Drive, #40
Boston, MA

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By phreedom, August 13, 2011 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

Part 2

One other thing, I think related in a more aggregate
way to all this, “unintended consequence”, magical
statement, and an economy motivated and financed
through profits from betting on bets, well, if the
true democrats, or newly progressive types of any
political flavor want the system and culture back,
and on the most just track, I might add, well,  they
must make plans for their stewardship practices and
guiding philosophies to keep power long enough to
make a difference. You know, that’s what the right
wing did, they thought it out, they had a strategy to
keep their systems in place, in a way that kept
pulling the rug out of from a reactionary political

For example, say you got rent control kicked out in
Boston or Massachusetts, due to a well organized,
well funded reactionary campaign of landowners. Now,
why has this not swung the other way in Boston or
Massachusetts, especially in this economic, well they
thought of this stupid, and reinvest, though in
superficial manners, they reinvest into the
communities in such a way and with a strategy that
calculates the benefits of keeping their way with
things, quelling normal reactionary political
movement that would jeopardize their profit margins
and/or power.

It’s easy math. You simply add up all the profit
among the property owners, large property owners, and
a few old property, and you calculate some number
that represents this windfall, over a certain period
of time, and then you demand that your group of
property owners strategically invest back into their
communities, where their properties are located
perhaps, but not necessarily, cannot be any
fingerprints on this sort of placating investment, in
any case, remind of of what they gained having
defeated rent control, and remind them they need to
pay sometimes, but a price that pales to the losses
they took while rent control was in place.

If progressive power comes back, politically or
otherwise, well, the game people, is to manage power
better, and concentrate less on political campaigns,
and more on making sure a reactionary right is not
empowered, and even disabled long before it gains
momentum. That’s why its been so hard to shake the
right wing control, in terms of money interests, they
have learned to buy off reactionary political
movements by pulling the rug out of it, by dulling
its’ edge by giving the concerns that create it a
measured and counter balancing response, with money
or strategic investment. If we want to come power
this time we need to give the nuts enough of what
they want, so they have no idea what hit them or

Remember, the right and the rich do not believe you
need civil or human rights, or quality of life
investment, as long as you have just and wise rulers,
good financial stewardship. They believe that these
things, if well controlled,  should remove any need
for self determination, wide spread thinking, and/or
a general population being concerned for their own
welfare in any way. 

On the other hand, progressives know that human
rights, civil rights, human dignity, thinking for
oneself, concern for one’s own welfare is essential
for a just culture,, and that those things stand
apart from systemics of cultural management, the
powerful’s intentions’ good or bad, and/or any
philosophy of financial stewardship. The progressives
know that it is just plain not true, that a few can
know what is in the best interest of the many. 

Rhuen Phreed
231 Park Drive, #40
Boston, MA

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By CanDoJack, August 12, 2011 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Well, it did not take long to see that I had Al
Franken wrong all along. I thought he was a ferret
with a degree in comedy. But he is a parrot like the
rest of Congress.

But Congress can also be described as several bunches
of big pocketed, illiterate, mountebank, bottom

S&P said up front their ratings were based on the
inability of CONGRESS TO DO ITS JOB.

They were right. Congress is wrong. Franken should
not gloat because he is above the median IQ and
Bachmann is below.

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By MIke B, August 12, 2011 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ah… the last days of Rome… I remember them well! Sigh!

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By sallysense, August 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

(note “FIMILAC” typo mistake in previous post… it should be “FIMALAC”)...

(and “Standard&Poor;‘s” typo mistake… which should be “Standard & Poor’s” )...

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By sallysense, August 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

(Note:  A Holding Company is a Parent Company that Owns Enough Voting Stock in another Company, so that it’s able to Control that other Company’s Board of Directors, and hence Control that other Company’s Management or Operations.)


Moody’s Corporation is the Parent Company for Moody’s Investor Service, which is one of the Credit Rating Agencies that Rate the U.S. Government’s Debt. 

(Moody’s Corporation is also the Parent Company for Moody’s Analytics.)

Moody’s Corporation Revenue:

(Source: Moody’s 2010 Annunal Report.)

(In Millions.)  (ex:  2,000 Million = 2 Billion.)

2006:  $2,037.1

2007:  $2,259.0

2008:  $1,755.4

2009:  $1,797.2

2010:  $2,032.0


McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. is the Parent Company for Standard&Poor;’s, which is another one of the Credit Rating Agencies that Rate the U.S. Government’s Debt.

(McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. is also the Parent Company for Platts, and for J. D. Power and Associates.  McGraw-Hill also Publishes Magazines and Textbooks; and owns the majority of McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd, a Canadian Publishing Company)

McGraw-Hill Revenue:

(Source:  The McGraw-Hill Companies 2010 Annual Report.)

(In Millions)  (ex:  6,000 Million = 6 Billion.)

2006:  $6,255.

2007:  $6,772.

2008:  $6,355.

2009:  $5,951.8

2010:  $6,168.3


FIMALAC is the Parent Company for the Fitch Group, which is another one of the Credit Rating Agencies that Rate the U.S. Government’s Debt.

FIMALAC also includes Algorithmics, Inc.; and FIMILAC Developpment, which acquired 40% of Groupe Lucien Barriere (March 4, 2011).

Groupe Marc de Lacharriere is the Parent Company for FIMILAC.

FIMALAC Revenue:

(Source:  Bloomberg via Paris (Marketwire).)

(In Euro Millions for Fiscal Years, example: Oct 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2010 = Fiscal Year 2010.)

2009:  Euro 599.1 Million

2010:  Euro 608.7 Million


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By Aarky, August 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hondo has said it right! Senator Franken is beating the wrong horse and talking about all of S&P’s wrongs from the past. If no one went to jail or any civil fines were collected, then who is at fault for that? The US Congress refused to put teeth in the Banking Reform Act and Dodd/Frank were in the Bankers and speculators pockets while writing the sham legislation. A recent GAO audit of the FED was just released to members of Congress, but didn’t make it into the US newspapers. GAO-11-696 and GAO-11-716 reveals what some members of Congress only whisapered about;that the FED gave out loans totalling $16 trillion to banks. had the story as,“Congressional Addresses FED Audit:$16 Trillion in Loans to Banks in Less Than Three Years. Over three trillion went to banks overseas. Senator Franken has the story right but should be yelling about all those secret FED bail-outs of the crooked bankers.

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By Braddockbrat, August 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We need to clean house and eliminate lobbyist money from the politicians.  Our laws are being made to favor the money instead of the common good.

Signing pledges not to increase taxes, is a good example.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, August 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Umm speaking as one from Minnesota who has the dubious claim of having Stewart Smalley as “my” Senator.

Al Franken is a joke and an apologists for a system corrupted to it’s very core. Not to forget that Mr Franken was a supporter of the Iraq war, Afghanistan war, Yemen war, Libya war, Pakistan undeclared War, is on the record being opposed to single payer, supporter of the Patriot Acts and the adjoining “War On Terrah.” Oh and is a big fan of the current war criminal president Barack Obama.

Screw Al Franken. Question is, why does TruthDig continue to print articles that are apologist in nature for the pro-war, corporate corrupted political system. one has to wonder if TruthDig has an “invisible donor problem.”

I mean it is not like there is a shortage of political writers and thinkers who are not apologist in nature.

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By SarcastiCanuck, August 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Haven’t you heard,they appointed Barney the S&P night janitor as head of oversight.When interviewed,S&P employees said,‘Oh,oh,not Barney,he is one tough cookie.You should see him go ballistic if you walk on a wet floor he just mopped”...Everything should be alright now.This was another tough decision made by the president and fully backed by the republicans in congress..

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By Lafayette, August 12, 2011 at 8:53 am Link to this comment


Nothing would be more salutary for this part of the Finance Industry, however hard to prove, than a few perp-walks for professional negligence.

Despite arguments that they were only giving “opinions”, they should be investigated. An opinion is a view or judgment not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. A rating is a classification or ranking based on quality, standard, or performance.

“Opinion”, me arse.

They are complicit of fraud due to their negligence in not performing a proper audit of the quality of underlying realty values of the Debt Instruments for which they gave a Triple-A.

And, too often, they did so in connivance with the Investment Bankers peddling the Debt Instruments - wink, wink - in exchange for other remunerated business.

Off with their heads (of management)!

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By prisnersdilema, August 12, 2011 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Ha Ha Ha…’s never going to happen…..and we all know why…..

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By TDoff, August 12, 2011 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Oh oh, there he goes again! That Al Franken, trying to use logic, intelligence, even common-sense to correct financial abuses by the Powers-That-Be! And trying to do it in Congress!!

Won’t he ever learn? Congress is for comedy relief. Taking it to the streets is for progress. The rest of the world is demonstrating that. One of these days we in the US of A may learn that, too.

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By Hondo, August 12, 2011 at 5:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a nit.  When rating agencies blew up the mortgage world the congress meet and decided to do nothing (it helped their cause and friends) now that they down-graded the US to it rightful position (although CDS spredas rate them equivilent to Baa) they want to scream and holler that they now need oversight…...not only is this insane it is assinine.  In fact Congress, by failing to to its job in managing the budget, has screwd this country and its future is Congress that need to be regulated…and strip of power and held accountable.

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