The Pecora Commission was set up in 1933 to investigate the causes of the stock market crash of 1929, which led to the Great Depression. It was authorized by Franklin D. Roosevelt and led by a Sicilian-born immigrant named Ferdinand Pecora, a former New York prosecutor.
Pecora was the last in a series of investigators hired to examine the causes of the crash for the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency.
The commission's investigation led to 12,000 pages of transcripts laying bare abuses on Wall Street and failures of Washington to adequately regulate the U.S. financial system. It led to reforms in the banking industry, including legislation that regulated the sale of securities and helped establish the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Pecora's cross-examinations damaged the reputation of a number of the most well-known bankers, including Charles E. Mitchell of National City Bank, the precursor to Citibank, who was forced to resign, and the financier J.P. Morgan.
Phil Angelides, the chairman of the 10-member Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission set up to investigate the 2008 financial crisis, said that he planned to use Pecora as a model in examining the causes of the more recent crisis.
- In Original Reformer, a Model. The Washington Post.