Not often that I praise Jane Hamsher, but she is right that S&P improperly has injected itself into the political process:

Standard and Poors is evidently meeting with high-stakes gamblers and letting them know where to place their bets as they manipulate the global economy.

But they are also playing a much more sinister game.  Like a cat toying with a mouse, they are also inserting themselves in the political process and setting themselves up to be kingmaker in the 2012 election….

I don’t care whether you’re rabidly pro- or anti-Obama, a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent or a Green or none of the above.  What S&P and the other CRAs are doing right now is completely illegal and outside the boundaries of their own codes of conduct.  They’re acting as Wall Street’s tasers in Shock Doctrine 2.0, and making themselves the key player in determining what happens not only with the 2012 election but with the world’s economic future.  They are playing a very dangerous game with the world economy that could have devastating consequences for all of us, regardless of what your partisan identification is.

Maybe you’re a Republican and you say “so what, too bad for Obama.”  But what they do to one side today they will most certainly do to the other side tomorrow.  And I would be saying the exact same thing no matter who was in the White House.

Does anyone really want to see an organization have that kind of power over the political process?

Some history [July 2008]:

Government officials said Tuesday that the country’s three largest credit raters failed in their reviews of subprime mortgage-backed securities.

In a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox said that the agency’s 10-month examination found failures by the three largest firms – Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service (MCO) and Fitch Ratings (FIM).

“After an extensive examination of the adequacy of the credit ratings agencies … we uncovered serious shortcomings in these firms,” said Cox.

S&P should stay out of politics and stick to what it knows best (assuming there is something that it knows best).