California Attorney General Jerry Brown requested information from Financial Security Assurance Holdings Ltd. related to an investigation of the credit rating agencies, the firm said in a first-quarter 2009 filing yesterday.
FSA's 2009 first-quarter filings said the requests were related to antitrust concerns associated with the rating agencies and mirrored what it had said in the annual report it filed earlier this year. Competitor Ambac Financial Group Inc. first revealed the existence of the investigation last November when it reported that Brown's office had requested information.
The attorney general's office did not return a call requesting comment. California Treasurer Bill Lockyer has been one of the most vocal critics of the rating agencies.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal last year filed lawsuits against the parent companies of all three major rating agencies, alleging dual-rating systems that rate municipal debt lower than corporate debt with similar rates of default cost taxpayers millions of dollars through higher interest rates and bond insurance premiums. The attorney general had asked FSA for information in this case, too.
The California attorney general's office requested information on bonds issued by the Golden State and related issues, according to Ambac. The office asked for documents related to Ambac's insurance of California general obligations and about the methodologies used when deciding whether to insure bonds.