Last week I noted how the Washington Post published on page A5 a story about how Obama Treasury officials tried but failed to influence Standard & Poor's credit analysts from downgrading the U.S. government's credit outlook from "stable" to "negative."
Today the Post buried on page A14 a story by staffer Zachary Goldfarb about a House of Representatives investigation into the matter:
A House investigative committee is inquiring about discussions held by Treasury Department officials with Standard & Poor’s before the credit rating agency lowered its outlook on the United States last week.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Tex.), chairman of the oversight and investigations subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, expressed concern that officials might have tried to unduly influence the S&P decision and asked for a host of documents about the Treasury’s contacts with the rating agency.
“While it may be commonplace for companies and governments that solicit ratings to ‘push back’ when they don’t agree with decisions made by credit rating agencies, the appropriateness of the federal government protesting ratings changes is a bit more ambiguous given its regulatory and oversight role over the agencies,” Neugebauer wrote in a letter addressed to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.
Neugebauer asked for copies of all communication between Treasury officials and S&P and all notes related to that communication.
The Treasury declined to provide immediate comment.