What Does Barney Frank Know that Goldman Doesn't? The $60 Million Question for the State of Massachusetts
Now call me crazy but if I hadn't done anything illegal and had a few extra million lying around burning a hole in my pocket, the last place I would decide to put that money would be in the hands of a state attorney's office who might be investigating me for shady business practices. Let's keep in mind here that we're talking about Goldman Sachs, though, so maybe they have motivation which I as a mere mortal cannot possibly comprehend. Because we all know I'd never point fingers at $GS. Ha.
Via Bloomberg - what in the fuck is Goldman up to?
May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Thanks to the commonwealth of Massachusetts, crusading attorneys general throughout the land now have a road map for extracting multimillion-dollar checks from Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc.: Don’t accuse them of anything at all.
The big news from Goldman and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley this week was a $60 million settlement, under which the investment bank resolved her office’s investigation into its packaging of mortgage securities backed by subprime home loans. Per the usual custom in such accords, Goldman didn’t admit any wrongdoing.
The odd part is that Coakley’s office didn’t accuse Goldman of any wrongdoing, either. It filed no lawsuit. And it made no allegations that Goldman had violated any statutes or rules.
Why did Goldman pay if Coakley’s investigators couldn’t identify any infractions to allege? That’s a mystery. The only statement I could squeeze out of Goldman was a one-liner from a P.R. man, Michael DuVally. “Goldman Sachs is pleased to have resolved this matter,” he said. I’ll bet it is.
Strangely, HuffPo paints it as a settlement, with Barney Frank absolutely overjoyed that Goldman will now be somehow involved in saving Massachusetts homeowners from foreclosure to the tune of $50 million. What? I'm fucking confused.
"Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he wouldn't "second guess" Coakley's decision to settle short of criminal convictions. "I don't know what other avenues she had available, but I will say this: Getting significant relief for 700 people is very important, both for them and for the economy. Now, that's a legitimate consideration in getting it done more quickly than waiting for a couple years to go through the criminal procedure," he tells the Huffington Post.
"It's not always a perfect world and you can't always secure the perfect justice," says Delahunt. "It would appear that our attorney general did some good work that resulted in a very significant sum of money for redress by their behavior."
Frank agrees. "I can't tell exactly what the considerations were, but I'm inclined to think the value of getting immediate relief for 700 people and saving their homes, yeah, I'd trade off a little for that," he says.
Goldman Sachs was not accused of originating the subprime loans in question, but rather investigated for facilitating the process by buying them and bundling them into securities without regard to whether the borrowers would be able to pay them back -- or whether the borrowers or originators had followed reasonable lending practices or filed the appropriate paperwork.
As much as I love to see Goldman under the microscope, this sounds really odd and opens up a can of worms that we probably don't want to crack open.
Hold on one second, let's go back over it...
Massachusetts accuses Goldman of a subprime scam not because they were the ones running the credit checks and fudging the numbers but because they were the asshats who took the subprime mortgages which they assumed were legit and bundled them into securities. Fine. Is that illegal? Uh, not when everyone is doing it and most of the mortgages are coming from our federal friends Fannie and Freddie, right?! That's what I thought.
Sooooo Goldman decides they don't want the drama and cuts the Commonwealth of Massachusetts a $10 million check with a promise to cover $50 million more for 714 Massachusetts homeowners whose mortgages had been bundled and sold by Goldman. So? They shouldn't have taken out mortgages they couldn't afford in the first place! I really, really hate to play Devil's advocate here but why the fuck is this Goldman's fault?
I would also like to point out here that Barney Frank is a total idiot for saying things like "Getting significant relief for 700 people is very important, both for them and for the economy. Now, that's a legitimate consideration in getting it done more quickly than waiting for a couple years to go through the criminal procedure." In case you don't speak asshat, that roughly translates into "Who gives a shit about the law when we can just strong-arm the side we know is just as corrupt as ours into coughing up some loot?"
Funny when the bad guys get defrauded by the other bad guys, isn't it? Perhaps if both sides weren't so incredibly unethical we might have a chance at that "recovery" everyone keeps talking about.
Until then, expect more of this financial free for all bullshit.
Again, I'm certainly not defending Goldman nor would I ever (unless someone slipped a dose or two of Kool-aid into my coffee) but there is something to be said for the appropriate course of legal action here. It really is Bizarro World, isn't it? Sad.