McGraw-Hill forgets about the cows…

October 29, 2008

Last week, the House Committee on Oversight held two pretty dramatic hearings. As we footnoted here, the money quotes on Day 1 came from some instant messages between two employees of rating agency Standard & Poor’s — Shannon Mooney and Ralul Dilip Shah — that, to put it mildly weren’t very flattering.

Shah: We should not be rating it

Mooney: We rate every deal. It could be structured by cows and we would rate it.

The hearing also featured what can only be described as a grilling of the top executives of Moody’s (MCO), Fitch, and S&P, a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill (MHP). So you can imagine my surprise when I was reading McGraw-Hill’s 10Q yesterday and saw this one-sentence description of last Wednesday’s events:

“On October 22, 2008, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing titled —Credit Rating Agencies and the Financial Crisis. S&P participated in this hearing.”

So let’s get this straight: S&P President Deven Sharma spent the better part of five hours under the klieg lights answering a barrage of questions from angry members of Congress and McGraw-Hill decides to describe that as participating? It kind of makes you wonder what other things in the filing might be subject to a bit of revisionist history.

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