According Securities and Exchange Commission Inspector General H. David Kotz, there is no evidence that the SEC’s enforcement action against Goldman Sachs or the $550 million securities fraud settlement that resulted are tied to the financial services reform bill. Kotz also noted that it does not appear that any agency person leaked any information about the ongoing investigation to the press before the case was filed last April. The SEC says that the IG’s report reaffirms that the complaint against Goldman was based only on the merits.
That said, Kotz did find that SEC staff failed to fully comply with the administrative requirement that they do everything possible to make sure that defendants not find out about any action against them through the media. Kotz notes that this, along with the failure to notify NYSE Reg[ulation] before filing the action and the fact that the action was filed during market hours caused the securities market to become more volatile that day. Goldman had settled the SEC’s charges related to its marketing of synthetic collateralized debt obligation connected to certain subprime mortgage-backed securities in 2007 on the same day that the Senate approved the financial reform bill.
Last April, several Republican congressman insinuated that politics may have been involved because the announcement of the case came at the same time that Democrats were pressing for financial regulatory reform. SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro denied the allegation.
Earlier this month, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wrote Schapiro asking to see an unredacted copy of the internal investigative report by the IG. Issa is the one who had pressed Kotz to examine the decision-making process behind the Goldman settlement. Issa’s spokesperson says the lawmaker is concerned that the SEC can redact parts of its IG reports before the public and Congress can see them. However, at a Senate Banking Committee last month, Kotz, said that the SEC redacts information because the data could impact the capital markets.
Related Web Resources:
SEC Investigation Finds No Evidence Politics Drove Goldman Suit, MMC-News, October 21, 2010
Goldman Settles With S.E.C. for $550 Million, The New York Times, July 15, 2010
SEC’s Inspector General to Investigate Timing of Suit Against Goldman Sachs, Fox News, April 25, 2010
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