Goldman Sachs Before the Senate
It wasn't just Democrats beating up on Goldman Sachs and Wall Street at today's Senate hearing – the Republicans were just about as tough.
A Republican from Maine, Senator Susan Collins, spoke of "the terrible harm such unfettered markets can cause," when combined with "unbridled greed."
She said Goldman was "one of the few U.S. firms to actually profit from the financial crisis," calling that an "ignoble feat."
Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, declared – before a single witness at the hearing had even uttered a word – "There's no doubt their behavior was unethical."
The current and former Goldman Sachs employees did their best to respond. The former head of the mortgage department at Goldman Sachs, Daniel Sparks, spoke of the firm's "high ethical standards" and "integrity."
A former Goldman Sachs managing director, Joshua Birnbaum, said he greatly admires the firm's "integrity, commitment to client service, and ethics."
The senators expressed frustration at the way the witnesses responded.
The chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat, said to Mr. Sparks, "You're not going to answer the question, it's obvious."
Senator Collins later said to Mr. Sparks, "You're not really answering my question…I'm starting to share the chairman's frustration already."
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