Bob Franken

Finance Reform: Politics’ Dirty Picture

Imagine. At the very time the White House is pushing real hard for tougher regulations on the banking and finance industries, Security and Exchange Commission, the SEC’s Democratic majority decides to initiate a tough enforcement action against Goldman Sachs, the most profitable and most controversial firm on Wall Street.

The charge is that the investment titan committed fraud when it created and peddled exotic securities, while at the same time, surreptitiously taking investment positions based on inside knowledge these mortgage packages would probably crater.

So let’s see: Just as the administration and the Republican advocates for the big money club start their battle over new regulations, the agency headed by an Obama appointee lowers the boom on the most high profile member of the club.

Coincidence? Certainly Goldman Sachs supporters don’t think so, particularly since the company insists it did absolutely nothing wrong. In spite of denials from the President on down that there is any connection, they believe this just another Washington game of DC Pool, a bank shot at the bankers.

And speaking of Pool, how about that cesspool at the SEC? It turns out, that some of their employees over there, including some of the high level ones, spent huge chunks of their too-little workday watching pornography on their computers.

One might assume they these government protectors were getting, uh, relief, from the mind-numbing details of the chicanery that was causing our economic collapse.

At the same time, one might wonder if the timing of that SEC embarrassment had anything to do with the agency enforcement against Goldman Sachs, particularly since it was publicly released by The GOP’s Senator Charles Grassley. Grassley’s spokesperson says absolutely not. The fact it came out within a week is just happenstance.

So now we can wait to see what’s the next happenstance to happen. You can bet that the opposition research people on the Democrats’ side are looking very hard for anything they can dredge up about Grassley or anyone who has ever had anything to do with him. At the same time, the bankers and their GOP blockers are sniffing around for whatever smells bad on the other side.

At least, no one needs to scratch around to find sleazy conduct by the big money titans. That has been well documented as we sift through the rubble of after their inept unrestrained games wasted our economy.

In an uncharacteristic fit of Washington FRONT-stabbing, the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations has released a set of Goldman Sachs emails that seems to document the gloating by some of the company’s executives as the housing market tanked because they were making profits betting on the collapse.

That disclosure just happens to precede the testimony of Goldman chief executive Lloyd Blankfein Tuesday. Which gives Blankfein and his peeps more than a day to fire back with evidence of egregious behavior of one of their Senate. Plenty of time.

At least for the moment, the spotlight is off porn and on the way financiers were doing the same thing to the entire world in their own way.

Much of this other stuff is the kind of diversion that can distract everyone from the main mission… put a few limitations on greedy manipulations of the market. By comparison, those are way more obscene than any dirty pictures.

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