The three major rating agencies came under attack again last week when the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a meeting about the agencies' role in the current credit markets turmoil. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) presided over the hearings.

Aside from representatives from Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings, the Senate committee also called Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox, Columbia University law school Professor John Coffee and Arturo Cifuentes, a managing director at R.W. Pressprich & Co., to testify regarding the issue.

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