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Salon: Al Franken’s massive new target: Why he’s taking on shady credit rating agencies

Last week, some familiar-sounding news rocked the financial world. The Securities and Exchange Commission, along with state attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts, fined the Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency a total of $77 million for rating certain securities deals leniently, in a hidden effort to obtain new business. The SEC banned Standard & Poor’s from rating certain bonds for one year, and filed administrative proceedings against the executive, Barbara Duka, who orchestrated the fraud. S&P may also soon settle a similar case with the Justice Department and a dozen states for as much as $1.5 billion, which equals about a year’s worth of operating profit, over how they fraudulently rated mortgage-backed securities during the housing bubble.

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