April 19 (Bloomberg) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission split 3-2 along party lines to approve an enforcement case against Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to two people with knowledge of the vote.
SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro sided with Democrats Luis Aguilar and Elisse Walter to approve the case, said the people, who declined to be identified because the vote wasn’t public. Republican commissioners Kathleen Casey and Troy Paredes voted against suing, the person said.
Schapiro, an independent appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama, cast the deciding vote in a high-profile case for the second time this year. In February, she sided with Democrats in a $150 million settlement with Bank of America Corp. tied to its takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co.
I guess it’s barely possible that Goldman didn’t do anything legally wrong in helping one of its customers set up a sucker bet for a bunch of other Goldman customers, or in concealing from the suckers that the securities they were buying had been designed by someone who was then going to bet that the securities would fail. That – and the criminal charges that may well come next – is for the courts to resolve.
But in the court of public opinion, investment bankers as a class are guilty of crashing the economy and then fleecing the federal government through the bailout process. Nor is the public entirely wrong in thinking so.
Yes, a bunch of Goldman partners have been Democratic contributors, and some have been or are elected officials and appointees. So what? The Democrats are standing with the public against the banksters – even when that means going after their own donors – while the Republicans are backing the banksters.
That shouldn’t be hard to run on.