Of the 1,956 investment professionals surveyed by the CFA Institute, 11% said they had seen a credit rating agency change a bond grade in response to pressure from an issuer, underwriter or investor. Of the 211 respondents who said they had witnessed an agency change its rating in response to pressure, 51% said the pressure took the form of a threat “to take future ratings business to other” rating agencies.
I know there is a fundamental conflict in rating agencies being paid by those they rate, but I still find this genuinely shocking.
On a completely unrelated point I've been flicking through some articles on the (defunct) Rockridge Institute's website. Lots of interesting stuff on there from George Lakoff and others on reframing language. Here's one to kick you off.