Earlier this week, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission released its lineup for next Wednesday's hearing on the credit rating agencies and credit derivatives, and the name of Warren Buffett -- alongside a slate of Moody's Investor Service (MCO - Get Report) officials -- comprised the Wednesday lineup.
On Friday morning, long-time Buffett "pal" and Fortune writer Carol Loomis -- who edits the Berkshire Hathaway annual letter, serves as moderator during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting Q&A, and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway -- wrote that Buffett refused requests to provide voluntary testimony to the FCIC. It turns out that while Buffett loves showing up on CNBC whenever it suits his purposes, he just couldn't find the time to testify before the federal government as it tries to avoid future financial crises of the type which sank the country and has cost millions of American their homes and incomes.
Requests from the general counsel of the FCIC, Gary Cohen, were responded to by a Buffett assistant, who said Buffett appreciated the invitation and was flattered by it, but he "had a full plate with Berkshire and just can't do it."Apparently, Buffett thought it was an invitation to tea. It wasn't, and it wasn't just the FCIC general counsel who was calling, but the FCIC executive director Wendy Edelberg who sent letters to Buffett asking him to testify, Fortune reports on Friday. Finally, the FCIC was forced to tell Buffett he would receive a subpoena if he did not volunteer testimony, and that's what transpired, with Buffett telling the FCIC to "bring on" the subpoena if that is what it would take to get him to testify. The Fortune report provides some telling details of the legal process leading up to what seems like just another among countless reams of testimony before the FCIC, however, the Fortune report also lets Warren Buffett off a little easy in his reasoning for not offering voluntary testimony.