A New Blockbuster From Washington: The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report

FCIC logoCall me a cynic, but somehow I smell a whitewash in the vein of the Warren Commission report and the 9/11 Commission report, and this time the Feds want to charge some serious dollars for hoodwinking the citizenry. From the Washington Post:

The government commission tasked with writing a public report to expose the causes of the financial crisis is keeping the structure of its own publishing deal private.

On Aug. 3, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a presidential body, announced that it had chosen Little, Brown and Co. to publish its final report about the meltdown — an anticipated and authoritative account pieced together by well-known journalist Matt Cooper. It did not mention, however, that the deal had unusual terms for the publication of a public document, including an agreement by Little, Brown to pay an advance to the government and the stipulation that a portion of the proceeds from sales be paid into U.S. Treasury coffers. The commission’s chairman, Phil Angelides, said the details of the deal will be divulged once the contract with Little, Brown is finalized.

“Our primary goal was to make sure that it was a great report and accessible to people not just in distribution but in content and form,” said Angelides, who, with vice chairman and former congressman Bill Thomas, interviewed several publishers before selecting Little, Brown. “And to the extent that we thought we could do well by the taxpayers, that would be a good thing.”

“FCIC is all about transparency,” said Will Lippincott of the literary agency Lippincott Massie McQuilkin, who is one of the agents the government hired to sell the book. “But until the contract is complete, it’s not a done deal.”

Government commissions hooking up with commercial publishers to boost distribution is nothing new. The Warren Commission Report, the Starr Report and the 9/11 Commission Report all did exactly that. But this time the process is raising questions about whether a public report about the exploitation of the commodities market isn’t itself being overly commodified. The commission retained literary agents, who will likely receive a percentage of the deal for their efforts, and then auctioned off the manuscript to publishers.

“The government usually does not ask for royalties on public domain documents,” said Drake McFeely, president of W.W. Norton, which published the 9/11 Commission Report…

[continues at the Washington Post]

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  • Your Mom

    You're surprised that the gub'mint is demanding royalties from Little, Brown? Didn't you guys want the gub'mint to own the means of production?

    Jeez, you get exactly what you want, then you boo-hoo about it. Worse than any of my exes.

    • Andrew

      I'm not surprised they left you. Or that you left them, seeing as how they were humans with their own needs.

    • Gemmarama

      i'd be surprised if you had any exes mate. weird how you always have to bring your personal life into things… perhaps chatroulette.com would be more your bag?

    • GoodDoktorBad

      As I suspect your ex-es must have been pretty stupid, they still get extra credit for getting away from you.

      I also suspect your mouth resembles a balloon knot, asshole….

      Try making something coherant come out of that thing besides diarrhea.

  • wfzlsster

    Just what we need, another commission to point the finger all over the place while holding no one in high places accountable for anything. Why is it that prosecutors don't identify and prosecute crimes at higher levels? Why does the prosecution of high crimes become a political decision? And, last but not least, why haven't most of the members of the Bush Administration faced legal charges for the obvious crimes they committed? We are utterly doomed.

  • Anonymous

    As I suspect your ex-es must have been pretty stupid, they still get extra credit for getting away from you.

    I also suspect your mouth resembles a balloon knot, asshole….

    Try making something coherant come out of that thing besides diarrhea.

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