Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will release their report on the cause of the financial crisis next week. Levin chairs the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and Coburn is its ranking member. They will release their report Wednesday, capping a two-year investigation that included four Congressional hearings in the spring of 2010. The report will also include new developments that came to light since those hearings. In January, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission released its 533-page report, in which it interviewed more than 700 witnesses and spent 19 days in public hearings in New York, Washington and other communities hardest hit by the meltdown. The commission found that the crisis was avoidable, and that regulators and those at the highest executive level at the world’s largest financial firms ignored the impending problems. But it was not considered by many as the authoritative record of the crisis the commission set out to complete. In fact, even within the commission, the report merely stoked debate and widened the partisan chasm between economists, lawmakers and those within the industry. Two FCIC dissents were filed, one by three Republicans who blamed the crisis on the shock and panic that accelerated and brought down many of those institutions that failed. Yet another dissent filed by Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute, said U.S. housing policy drawn up to boost homeownership rates swelled a bubble that eventually collapsed. The report from Levin and Coburn will be made available Wednesday evening. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.
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