Admittedly, I know very little about securities rating agencies, what they do, and how they should be regulated. I'll defer to my colleague, Daniel Invdiviglio, at the Atlantic Business Channel on that. But Sen. Al Franken succeeded in passing an amendment to the financial reform bill today that would aggressively regulate the ratings system, with a new board issuing ratings from the agencies. See Dan's post for more on what the amendment will do.
It's Franken's most significant legislative accomplishment to date, since entering the Senate last year after the protracted ballot-counting in his 2008 Senate race. Previously, Franken successfully pushed for language in health care reform requiring insurance companies to spend a certain percent of revenue on health care, and in including language in the FY2010 Defense appropriations to bar government contractors from forcing employees into arbitration (and preventing them from suing) over allegations of sexual harassment, assault, or discrimination. The financial reform bill hasn't passed yet, of course, but this is the biggest thing the comedian-turned-legislator (does one ever stop being a comedian?) has done in his legislative career so far.
Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.