The Justice Department issues a press release. But doesn’t send it to its press list. And doesn’t post it on its web site.
Why not? The Justice Department won’t say.
Clearly the press release in question is not your run of the mill press release.
It deals with the question that hangs like a dark cloud over President Obama’s Justice Department – why not a single prosecution of a high ranking Wall Street executive or major financial firm fully four years since the financial crisis that involved major fraud crippled the American economy?
In the press release, the Justice Department says that “there is not a viable basis to bring a criminal prosecution with respect to Goldman Sachs or its employees.”
In fact, the Justice Department issued the press release at the behest of Goldman Sachs.
And it was Goldman Sachs that initially distributed the text of the press release to the press.
Clearly, the Department has been stung by criticism that it can’t get itself to bring a major criminal case against a big bank or a top executive at a big bank involved in the collapse.
Last December, 60 Minutes ran a piece titled Prosecuting Wall Street that hammered the Department for not prosecuting Wall Street.
And the Department has been taking incoming ever since.
Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan), who initially called for a criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs, was not happy with the decision.
“Goldman Sachs created complex securities that included ‘junk’ from its own inventory that it wanted to get rid of,” Levin said in a statement. “It misled investors by claiming its interests in those securities were ‘aligned’ with theirs while at the same time it was betting heavily against those same securities, and therefore against its own clients, to its own substantial profit. Its actions did immense harm to its clients, and helped create the financial crisis that nearly plunged us into a second Great Depression.”
“Those are the facts the subcommittee found. Whether the decision by the Department of Justice is the product of weak laws or weak enforcement, Goldman Sachs’ actions were deceptive and immoral.”
Former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer couldn’t believe it.
“Really? Are you kidding me?” Spitzer wrote. “Wall Street continues to get away scot-free? The Justice Department prosecutes Roger Clemens for perjury – spends countless resources, hours, and energy worrying about steroids in baseball – yet seems incapable of making cases against the big Wall Street firms that engineered the greatest lies, frauds, and scams in our economic history. I am as outraged, disappointed, and furious as you are. Have they no backbone, shame, or sense of what justice is all about? It does nothing for my already waning faith in this Justice Department.”