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Cooper quits as lead writer of FCIC report

By Jia Lynn Yang

The lead writer for a report ordered by Congress on the causes of the financial crisis has quit just four months before the investigation is due.

Matt Cooper, a former writer for Time magazine, has left his post working for the ten-member Federal Crisis Inquiry Commission to "pursue opportunities that would not wait until the end of the year," according to FCIC spokesperson Tucker Warren.

Cooper's last day was August 13, said Warren. Cooper, who sat in the limelight during the Valerie Plame scandal in 2003, did not respond to calls or e-mails seeking comment.

The sudden departure of the report's lead writer could further hobble the ten-member commission, which has already been beset by delays and is supposed to submit its final report on the 2008 financial crisis by Dec. 15.

Warren said the commission wasn't worried about missing its deadline because it has a full-time staff of 58 employees, a group that includes writers other than Cooper.

"Matt was never the sole person writing this report," Warren said. He added, "We appreciate Matt's time here and his contributions. The commission's work continues."

Critics have accused the FCIC of being unfocused. In splashy public hearings, commissioners have asked Goldman Sachs executives to discuss conflicts of interest at the investment bank and solicited the opinion of billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett on troubles at credit-ratings agencies. (Buffett is a member of The Washington Post Co. board.)

Late last year, the commission requested more funding from lawmakers after concluding that its $8.million budget would not support what it hoped to accomplish. The House approved a $1.8 million increase earlier this summer. But Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has raised questions about the request, sending a letter to the FCIC asking for an explanation of its spending.

The FCIC is led by former California treasurer Phil Angelides and former congressman Bill Thomas. It is modeled after the 9/11 Commission, which produced a final report that became a national bestseller.

The FCIC report is likewise slated to produce a book to be published by Little, Brown and Co. The publisher is supposed to pay an advance to the government with some of the proceeds going to the U.S. Treasury.

By Jia Lynn Yang  |  August 23, 2010; 5:56 PM ET
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Perhaps it is just what use is a report after the tepid response has already been enacted and the same stuff is just going to continue on and on as before... as is teh country going on and on with both an immoral business and national security program.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

umm, Maybe Matt Cooper found out the Obama administration lied again and again

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Final Report

See Trade Deficit.
See Trade Deficit Run Up

See National Debt.
See National Debt Run Up

Economy Go Down.
Consumer Spending Go Down.

Goldman Sachs uses straight razor and bleeding cup to help make economy better.

Democrats say bleed USA more.
Republicans say pay Goldman Sachs more.
Oh, oh.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Only in America would it take 58 people and $10 million dollars to write a report...

Posted by: daystar58 | August 23, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

We don't really need a commission to tell us what happened. Assets got way overvalued and lots of people got greedy and then even more people got stupid.

Posted by: rkerg1 | August 23, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

He should have finished the job. Poor form.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | August 23, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

It would have been nice to have the report before passage of the financial reform bill and before the November election. Wishful thinking, I suppose.

But the report could still include a good bibliography for reference.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

If I told you that the financial crisis was caused by people stealing, at the highest levels in our financial institutions, would you give the 9.8 million to me?

Imagine, the commission to investigate 9/11 received 4 million.

Monica Lewinsky cost 40 million to investigate.

Strange priorities.

Posted by: essl | August 23, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

FCIC official conclusion: Nobody to blame. CEOs worthy enough to merit bonuses, but not witting enough to bear blame. At worst, they "misplaced trust" in nerdy underlings, unworthy of golf club memberships. Answer: new rules, but none that discourage CEOs from fresh "wealth creation." Keep Bernanke and Geithner in tow. Long live Goldman. Off to the races.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I am available and, as a thirty-year veteran senior manager in the mortgage bank and securities industry, and retired academician, am FAR more qualified to the task...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous: Indeed, and that's why no one like you will be anywhere near the final product, truth is a dangerous commodity, you know that by now.

Posted by: Gooddogs | August 23, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Who is Darrell Issa? May we have a 500-word example of his writing? What does John Boehner think of him and his desire to be the House minority/majority leader?

How much of Issa's foolishness is the US citizenry expected to stomach?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

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