Goldman Sachs Suit Gets More Political

| About: Goldman Sachs (GS)

Heard about this on Bloomberg radio while out and about yesterday. (By the way, if you’re paying full price for XM radio and you’re kind of luke warm about it, you’re paying way too much. Just call them and say you want to cancel and they’ll do just about anything to keep you on, including giving it to you for practically nothing or, in some cases, nothing. It makes sense from their point of view because there’s no incremental cost in keeping you around if there’s the prospect of you paying them something, sometime in the future.) Anyway, Bloomberg reports that the SEC vote to file charges against Goldman (NYSE:GS) was strictly a party-line vote:

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro sided with Democrats Luis Aguilar and Elisse Walter to approve the case, said the people, who declined to be identified because the vote wasn’t public. Republican commissioners Kathleen Casey and Troy Paredes voted against suing, the person said.

Schapiro, an independent appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama, cast the deciding vote in a high-profile case for the second time this year. In February, she sided with Democrats in a $150 million settlement with Bank of America Corp. tied to its takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co.

Schapiro, 55, has bucked consensus in approving enforcement cases and new regulations. In February, she joined Aguilar and Walter in 3-2 votes for rules to restrict on bearish stock bets and to encourage companies to disclose how climate change may alter financial results.

The vote on short-sale restrictions prompted Erik Sirri, a former head of the SEC’s division of trading and markets under Schapiro, to say the agency made a political decision rather than one based on market data.

In one or more of the hundreds of articles on the Goldman Sachs suit over the last three days, Schapiro was characterized as Rahm Emanuel’s lapdog or worse. In this commentary, Bruce Krasting says that the SEC chief doesn’t go to the bathroom without first checking with Emanuel. The timing certainly is curious…

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