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Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Devises Genius Plan To Put Tens Of Hundreds In Taxpayers' Pockets

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Say what you will about the FCIC but these guys and girls are on top of their shit. They knew when Goldman was trying to pull a fast one on them vis-a-vis sending all of the bank's emails over the past few years to Washington (as was requested) instead of just the relevant ones, underlined with notes that said stuff like "ooo that, sooooo not legal, you should really nail us to the wall for that" and "hooo boy, can't believe we got away with that one" and they knew that Bill Thomas would make for riveting TV. And now, they've figured out a way to pay back the taxpayers for those bailouts.

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and its staff journalist Matt Cooper have made a deal with Little, Brown for "authorized" publication of their report about the 2008 collapse on December 15 in both print and digital versions. As is usually the case with government documents, the publisher's version will compete with a free downloadable version available on government web sites. But everything else about the deal, which the commission announced in a terse statement last week, is less traditional.

As the Washington Post writes, the government retained two agents--Will Lippincott at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin and Joe Spieler of the Spieler Agency--and received bids in July from five of the big six publishers. And Little, Brown is paying both an advance and royalties. As 9/11 Commission Report publisher Drake McFeely at Norton tells the Washington Post, "the government usually does not ask for royalties on public domain documents." In winning the 9/11 Report, Norton prevailed by agreeing to invest in making the document available widely immediately upon release and at modest cost, but did not pay the government anything. Norton declined to bid on the financial crisis report. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission chairman Phil Angelides says the payments will go to the Treasury Department and notes "to the extent that we thought we could do well by the taxpayers, that would be a good thing."

Some of the unanswered questions on this deal include stuff like, "How many people do they think will be interested in buying the page-turner, especially considering they can get it for free," "Will they be charging ten billion dollars per copy," and "What do the DVD extras entail? Lloyd Blankfein tea-bagging Tim Geithner one late night at the office circa September 2008?" Regardless, this is huge.

Unusual Deal for Financial Crisis Report Gives Treasury An Advance and Royalties [Publisher's Marketplace]