Top Goldman Sachs officials defended their conduct in the financial crisis on Tuesday before the Senate Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee. They flatly rejected the Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud allegations against the firm, made in a civil suit filed earlier in April.
The following is a look at some of the more dramatic moments in the hearing.
Posted April 27 2010
From the outset the hearing was expected to be a media circus. The SEC suit against Goldman Sachs comes just as financial regulatory reform legislation is being debated on the Senate floor.
In addition the banking sector, which has stepped into profitability after receiving government aid two years ago, is increasingly an object of public scorn.
"You knew it was a sh**ty deal and that's what your e-mails show … How much of this sh**ty deal did you continue to sell to your clients?"
—Sen. Carl Levin, committee chairman, referencing an internal Goldman Sachs email using the above adjective to describe a financial product.
Blog: How many times did Senator Levin say "Sh**ty deal"?
"Had we known, we would have been massively short the market instead of just getting short equal to what our longs were."
—Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told the Senate subcommittee that the company is not "that smart" as to have predicted the housing crisis and also maintained "people trust us."
"Fabulous Fab is not so fab when he takes from the poor."
—Protesters’ chant before the hearing. They hissed at times during the testimony.
"I deny—categorically—the SEC's allegation and I will defend myself in court against this false claim."
—Fabrice Tourre, a 31-year-old trader at Goldman and the only company official directly accused in the SEC suit against the firm brought earlier in April.
Read more: Fabulous Fab’s Conflicted Love Letters
"We want to see these guys behind bars."
—Demonstrators from Code Pink for Peace hold photographs of Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of The Goldman Sachs Group, and demand he be jailed.
“Anybody participating in (a deal) should look at the assets themselves.”
—Daniel Sparks, head of Goldman Sachs' mortgage department from 2006-2008. He (left) and Josh Birnbaum, another Goldman executive, were also grilled by the Senate committee.
"Mr. Chairman, I think it's very clear what the Goldman executives meant, and I, too, am baffled that they continue to maintain that they did not have an overall short position."
—Senator Susan Collins
She also suggested that the Goldman executives were "stonewalling", to which committee chairman Levin remarked that:
"We're going to stay here as long as it takes to get the answers. So there may be a strategy, and I just noticed very much the same thing that Senator Collins did about the refusal to give answers and long delays in those answers, but it's not going to work. We're going to stay here as long as it takes to get this information for the public."
"Wall Street is much more dishonest. They change the odds while you're playing,"
—Senator John Ensign (R., Nevada), taking offense at gambling on Wall Street being compared to playing the casinos in his state.