(one in a (semi)weekly series intended to shine some light on unsavory news being jettisoned from the White House or Capitol Hill right before the weekend)
"I would assume he would be someone we would want to hear from because he would have firsthand knowledge."
That from Iowa Democrat, Bruce Braley, in reference to Dept. of Treasury HMFIC, Timothy Geithner and the revelation made this past Friday regarding just what Goldman Sachs did with their share of the U.S. tax-payer funded TARP bailout.
Goldman Sachs sent $4.3 billion in federal tax money to 32 entities, including many overseas banks, hedge funds and pensions, according to information made public Friday night.
Goldman Sachs disclosed the list of companies to the Senate Finance Committee after a threat of subpoena from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ia.
Asked the significance of the list, Grassley said, "I hope it's as simple as taxpayers deserve to know what happened to their money."
He added, "We thought originally we were bailing out AIG. Then later on ... we learned that the money flowed through AIG to a few big banks, and now we know that the money went from these few big banks to dozens of financial institutions all around the world."
Grassley said he was reserving judgment on the appropriateness of U.S. taxpayer money ending up overseas until he learns more about the 32 entities.
All told Goldman Sachs received $12.9 billion in bailout money to protect itself from the worthless AIG securities it held. But before it received the bailout, it had secured protection from outfits like Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley should AIG go under and lawmakers and regulators want to know why, if Goldman Sachs had private money lined up to stay afloat, was tax payer money being spent instead?
Shouldn't Goldman Sachs be expected to collect from those institutions "before they collect the taxpayers' dollars?" Grassley asked. "It's a little bit like a farmer, if you got crop insurance, you shouldn't be getting disaster aid."
Goldman had not disclosed the names of the counterparties it paid in late 2008 until Friday, despite repeated requests from Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel.
To date, AIG has received over $133 billion in tax-payer assistance.
Warren, in testimony Wednesday, said that the rescue of AIG "distorted the marketplace by turning AIG's risky bets into fully guaranteed transactions. Instead of forcing AIG and its counterparties to bear the costs of the company's failure, the government shifted those costs in full onto taxpayers."
Indeed. If the Wall St. big boys had each others' back then what was the need for the panic that set Bailout Nation into motion?
Somebody got played here and Grassley, Braley and Warren want to know what did Geithner, who was head of the New York Federal Reserve at the time the bailouts were structured in the fall of '08, know and when did he know it.
An attempt, made Friday, to contact Geithner through the White House's public information office was unsuccessful. Natch.