The Pecora Investigation: Stock Exchange Practices
and Causes of the 1929 Wall Street Crash
By the United States Senate Committee on Banking and Currency
It reads like a news report from 2009, not 1929: investment practices that favored rich insiders, collusion between Wall Street and Washington DC, the repackaging of bad loans to get them off the books of offending banks, and numerous other financial crimes the impacts of which reverberated through the world economy. Between 1932 and 1934, Ferdinand J. Pecora (1882-1971), an American lawyer, served as chief counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Banking and Currency as it interrogated those responsible for the stock market crash of 1929 and the resulting Great Depression. This is the full report on the Pecora Commission's investigations to the Senate committee, and it makes for astonishing reading today, now that the repeal of the reforms implemented as a result of Pecora's report set the stage for the Great Recession that began in 2008. This firsthand document of the economic history of the United States is required reading for anyone wishing to untangle the web of deceptive financial practices of the past and today alike.