Round One: Senate Grills A Few (Not-So-Good) Goldman Bankers

by Derek Loosvelt | April 27, 2010

Today in Washington, D.C., Senator Carl Levin has been leading the charge in the interrogation of two former Goldman bankers and two current Goldman bankers, including the Fabulous Fabrice Tourre.

Levin and his fellow Senators are supposed to be collecting information to help them better understand what caused the financial crisis and market meltdown. Instead, they have been unleashing their disgust with all investment bankers (and not just those of the Goldman variety) for profiting (aka making billions of dollars) while millions of their constituents lost jobs and watched their pensions disappear. And I can't blame them for doing it.

For the most part, the four Goldman bankers (who just left the stand, at the conclusion of the first part of the Senators' questioning), largely avoided answering any tough questions. At times they came off as smug and pompous; at others, they seemed to be attempting to understand the many vague, unclear questions that were posed to them. What was clear from their testimony is none of the bankers believe Goldman did anything wrong.

There will be more to come on the entire grilling later, but for now I'd like to leave you with a dream scenario for Round Two, starring Colonel Lloyd Blankfein:

Lloyd Blankfein: You want answers?

Senator Levin: I think I'm entitled.

Lloyd Blankfein: You want answers?

Senator Levin: I want the truth!

Lloyd Blankfein: You can’t handle the truth!
[pauses]

Lloyd Blankfein: Senator, we live in a world that has CDOs, and those CDOs have to be traded by men with monstrous marbles. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Senator Levin? I have bigger stones than you could possibly fathom. You weep for the French, and you curse Fabrice. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That those shitty deals, while tragic, probably made billions. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, made billions. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't discuss with your pansy left lobbyists, you want me on that trade, you need me on that trade. We use words like synthetic collateralized debt obligations, naked shorts and value at risk. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent chasing the almighty dollar. You can't even pronounce them correctly. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who thinks his comb-over looks remotely decent, who rises and dozes off in the cashmere sweater vests paid for with the very billions in taxes that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you for the tax base, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a CDO, and trade your own account. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

Senator Levin: Did you make the Big Short?

Lloyd Blankfein: I made the trade I ...

Senator Levin: Did you order the Big Short?

Lloyd Blankfein: You’re Goddamned right I did!

* * *

Unfortunately, I think it's going to go more like this:

Senator Levin: Did you make the Big Short?

Lloyd Blankfein: Excuse me, Senator, can you repeat the question? I'm not sure I understand.

Senator Levin: It's right there on page 987, exhibit 58, section Z.

Lloyd Blankfein: Excuse me, Senator, can you repeat that page number?

Filed Under: Finance


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