Bill Clinton kicks off his discussion at today’s Pete Peterson “fiscal summit” by fawning over Peterson and complaining that the two of them had been attacked by “liberal blogs” because they’re not on board with “just spending like crazy.” (CSPAN video starts at 2:02) It must be hard out here for an oligarch these days, because he then goes on to defend poor Goldman Sachs:
BOB SCHIEFFER: What did you take away from the hearings yesterday, when you had the Goldman executives who basically took the line that, whatever is wrong with the economy, they didn’t cause it, and as I understood what they said, they really feel no responsibility for that?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, I think they’re really mad about the SEC deal. They think that. . . I think that the timing was suspect, and they don’t believe that they violated the law.
SCHIEFFER: Do you think there was a connection?
CLINTON: Well I’m not sure on this particular SEC deal. . . I’ve read a lot of material on this. And I’m not sure that they violated the law by not telling people that Jonn Paulson suggested the securities in this CDO, because of the ability of people on the other side to get information.
These Goldman guys are mad because they think they were targeted at this time, and they think they didn’t violate the law. I’m not at all sure sure they violated the law. But i do believe that there was no underlying merit to the transaction.
Seriously? Bill Clinton is feeding the “timing of the SEC suit against Goldman was suspect” conspiracy theory? As Barry Ritholz notes, the Wells notice (notification from the SEC they intend to recommend enforcement) was served over 8 months ago. And the SEC worked for months trying to get Goldman to settle. When Goldman arrogantly balked and walked away, the SEC had no other option but to file suit.
The SEC vote to pursue the case against Goldman was along party lines. But the question is not why the Democrats voted to pursue–the question is why the Republicans didn’t.
Yesterday, Goldman executives openly admitted that they knew they were peddling a “shitty deal” to their own customers, and then betting Goldman’s own money that it would fail. If that’s not illegal there’s something wrong with the law. And Bill Clinton, the guy who signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall, is certainly smart enough to figure that out.