Former Goldman Sachs CEO and Bush Administration Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson issued himself an “ethics waiver” to handle the details of the U.S. bailing out Goldman Sachs, along with White House counsel.
“He not only sold all his holdings in Goldman Sachs, the investment bank he had run, but also specifically said that he would avoid any substantive interaction with Goldman executives for his entire term unless he first obtained an ethics waiver from the government,” reports Gretchen Morgenson and Don van Natta, Jr. at The New York Times.
The NYT reports that said ethics waivers were granted to Mr. Paulson on 17 Sept. 2008. “That date was in the middle of the most perilous week of the financial crisis and a day after the government agreed to lend $85bn to the American International Group, which used the money to pay off Goldman and other big banks that were financially threatened by A.I.G.’s potential collapse.”
It doesn’t sound like much until the reporters note: “The government’s decision to rescue A.I.G was made collectively by Mr. Paulson, officials from the Federal [sic] Reserve and other financial regulators in meetings at the New York FED over the weekend of 13-14 Sept. 2008.”
Of the $85bn to bail out A.I.G., $13bn went to Goldman.
During the bailout period, Mr. Paulson was in contact with Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein 24 times (that we know of) — five times the day that Mr. Paulson received the waivers, but two times beforehand.
“Over that weekend, according to a former senior government official involved in the discussions, Mr. Paulson said that he had been warned by lawyers for the Treasury Department not to contact Goldman executives directly,” reports the NYT. “But he said Mr. Paulson told him he had disregarded the advice because the ‘crisis’ required action.”
The amount of conversations with Mr. Blankfein were disproportionately more than with other CEO’s involved receiving bailouts. “By contrast, Mr. Paulson spoke six times that August with Richard S. Fuld, Jr. of Lehman, four times with Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase and only twice with John Thain of Merrill Lynch.”
Mr. Paulson says he “had no role whatsoever in any of the Fed’s decision regarding payments to any of A.I.G.’s creditors or counterparties,” but the NYT reports: “Mr. Paulson was closely involved in decisions to rescue A.I.G., according to two senior government officials who requested anonymity because the negotiations were supposed to be confidential.
“And government ethics specialists say that the timing of Mr. Paulson’s waivers, and the circumstances surrounding it, are troubling.
“Mr. Paulson helped decide the fates of a variety of financial companies, including two longtime Goldman rivals, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, before his ethics waivers were granted. Ad hoc actions taken by Mr. Paulson and officials at the Federal [sic] Reserve, like letting Lehman fail and compensating A.I.G.’s trading partners, continue to confound some market participants and members of Congress.
“Goldman not only received $13 billion in taxpayer money as a result of the A.I.G. bailout, but also was given permission at the height of the crisis to convert from an investment firm to a national bank, giving it easier access to federal financing in the event it came under greater financial pressure[,]… won federal debt guarantees and received $10 billion under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. It benefited further when the Securities and Exchange Commission suddenly changed its rules governing stock trading, barring investors from being able to bet against Goldman’s shares by selling them short.
Goldman made $100 million on 46 days of the second quarter netting $3.44 billion, breaking a record for the market set in the first quarter of this year by… GOLDMAN SACHS!
Citing Goldman’s privilege to corporate welfare from the taxpayers — “including FDIC-backed bonds, TARP money, counterparty payments funneled through A.I.G., and an implicit backstop from the taxpayer” that granted Goldman the opportunity to scoop assets on the cheap after the market crashed and confidence was low — ten U.S. House members stated in a letter to Federal [sic] Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke: “The only difference between Goldman Sachs today and Goldman Sachs last year is that today, the company is officially gambling with government money. This is the very definition of ‘heads we win, tails the taxpayers lose’.”
It would’ve been nice for the mayor of New York to wipe out the other families instead of Michael Corleone actually having to make his direct underlings get their hands dirty.
So-called “ObamaCare” will be a stain on the shovel with this pile of shit. The way Wall Street’s robbing us blind, you’ll wish President Obama was a socialist when him and his cronies are done with you.