By Karey Wutkowski
WASHINGTON, Jan 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. commission examining the financial meltdown is expected to take Wall Street bankers to task this week for a return to extravagant bonuses, but the spectacle should fall short of the political theater that marked a similar investigation of the Great Depression.
The 10-member, bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission will hear from the executives just as public outcry is again reaching a fever pitch over the multimillion-dollar bonuses the banks are poised to award after hurrying to repay billions of dollars of taxpayer bailouts.
The panel is modeled after the Pecora Commission, which investigated the Wall Street crash of 1929. That commission was beset with political turmoil and sideshow moments including a dwarf who jumped on the lap of banker J.P. Morgan Jr. during his testimony.
The new commission on Wednesday will hear from top executives of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. For a full list of witnesses, please click here.
Those executives are prime targets for public anger, not only for the lavish bonuses, but also because they remain tight-fisted with credit to consumers and small businesses.