It was totally legitimate for securities issuers to go to Moody's and say, "What kind of rating does this tranche get?" But at some point, the relationship got too close. Many allege that this is because of conflicts of interest, or financial malfeasance; I withhold judgment on these accusations. Whatever the cause, it has become clear that if raters and the rated work too closely together, the ratings begin to bear less and less resemblance to actual reality.
She does not find out the facts and draw a conclusion, she "withhold[s] judgement," a high-sounding way of avoiding research and unfortunate conclusions. If you don't know the facts you won't have to ever change your mind or feel uncomfortable about your decisions. "Whatever the cause"--what a convenient phrase. "New Orleans drowned--whatever the cause, it was a bad thing." "Wall Street gutted the financial system--whatever the cause, we must give them more money." "I drank underage, got a suspended license, couldn't register my car, couldn't repair my car, and therefore couldn't drive my new car---whatever the cause, Pennsylvania sure is stupid."