You are hereTalking Points Memo: Senate panel slams Goldman in scathing crisis report

Talking Points Memo: Senate panel slams Goldman in scathing crisis report


April 13, 2011- In the most damning official U.S. report yet produced on Wall Street's role in the financial crisis, a Senate panel accused powerhouse Goldman Sachs of misleading clients and manipulating markets, while also condemning greed, weak regulation and conflicts of interest throughout the financial system.

Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, one of Capitol Hill's most feared panels, has a history with Goldman Sachs.

He clashed publicly with its Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein a year ago at a hearing on the crisis.

The Democratic lawmaker again tore into Goldman at a press briefing on his panel's 639-page report, which is based on a review of tens of millions of documents over two years.

Levin accused Goldman of profiting at clients' expense as the mortgage market crashed in 2007. "In my judgment, Goldman clearly misled their clients and they misled Congress," he said, reading glasses perched as ever on the tip of his nose.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman said, "While we disagree with many of the conclusions of the report, we take seriously the issues explored by the subcommittee."

The panel's report is harder hitting than one issued in January by the government-appointed Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which "didn't report anything of significance," Republican Senator Tom Coburn said at the briefing.

More than two years since the crisis peaked, denunciations of Wall Street misconduct are less often heard on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers focused on fiscal issues. But Coburn joined Levin at Wednesday's bipartisan briefing, firing his own sharp attacks on the financial industry.

"Blame for this mess lies everywhere -- from federal regulators who cast a blind eye, Wall Street bankers who let greed run wild, and members of Congress who failed to provide oversight," said Coburn, the subcommittee's top Republican.

"It shows without a doubt the lack of ethics in some of our financial institutions who embraced known conflicts of interest to accomplish wealth for themselves, not caring about the outcome for their customers," he said.

The Levin-Coburn report criticized not only Goldman, but Deutsche Bank, the former Washington Mutual Bank, the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision and credit rating agencies Moody's and Standard & Poor's.

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