April 28th, 2010
02:34 PM ET
4 years ago

Bill Clinton questions if Goldman Sachs broke law

Bill Clinton is giving embattled investment bank Goldman Sachs the benefit of the doubt. Sort of.
Bill Clinton is giving embattled investment bank Goldman Sachs the benefit of the doubt. Sort of.

Washington (CNN) - Bill Clinton is giving embattled investment bank Goldman Sachs the benefit of the doubt. Sort of.

The former president, who spoke Wednesday at a Peterson Foundation summit on the nation's fiscal plight, said he is "not at all sure that they did violate the law."

Goldman is facing fraud charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The government claims that Goldman failed to disclose key information when selling a complex mortgage security in 2007. The firm is accused of failing to disclose the participation of a hedge fund in creating an investment that was doomed to fail.

"These Goldman guys are mad because they think they were targeted," Clinton told CBS anchor Bob Schieffer, who served as the questioner during the Clinton session.
At the same time, Clinton questioned the broader social utility of the investment at issue in the Goldman case – known as a derivative.

"If you're a farmer in east Arkansas, you want to hedge against the prospect that you'll have a bad crop year," Clinton said. "That has legitimate economic purposes. What purpose was served by this?"

Executives of Goldman, which vigorously denies the SEC charges, were berated Tuesday by lawmakers in a day-long hearing on Capitol Hill. The Senate is locked in a partisan fight over legislation to overhaul the rules of Wall Street, and how to regulate derivatives is a key bone of contention. Democrats' effort to begin debate on the bill failed Wednesday for the third time in as many days.


Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Joe

    I question how many laws Bill Clinton broke. Both Clintons should be in prison.

    April 28, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. Peter

    Chipster April 28th, 2010 3:28 pm ET

    Excuse me, Angus, but the bailout was on George W. Bush's watch, signed by him on October 2008. So you simply have no clue what you're talking about! The auto industry bailout was also signed by Bush in December 2008 so you people who keep claiming that this was Obama's bailout and Wall Street connection are wrong, wrong, wrong. Did you sleep through Bush Administration?

    That said, I've yet to hear any of you come up with a better idea – one that wouldn't end in a complete collapse of the U.S. Treasury and a 2nd Great Depression.

    Well said! the Republican criminals think we have a short memory. The Dems/Ind/Rep who voted for Obama in 08 dont forget the anger that moved them to vote! The Republican party has yet to pay for its sins/misdeeds to our country and middle class...the silent majority in this country dont act up on tv, we vote! and so far we know that we need to give more time to laws recently passed to play out....

    April 28, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Four and the Door

    Clinton is a washed up has been who makes nuttier comments than anyone and CNN actually keeps on quoting him. Remember when Obama was running against Hillary.............enough said!

    April 28, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Michigan Patriot

    He has broken many laws and he should be in prison.
    Besides you were done in 2001, so please close your mouth and go home!!

    April 28, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Wade

    ALL the elitists in the politics of these United States (united?) are bought and paid for. Obviously the Clinton's (both goon-ba's) have an interest in these kinds of issues. The only time the Clinton's get on anyone's case is if it serves their personal interests, or if they are already on their "hit" list. The Clinton's, like the Rockefeller's and others, are some of the most dangerous people in America.

    April 28, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. Hugo

    "These Goldman guys are mad because they think they were targeted," Clinton told CBS anchor Bob Schieffer, who served as the questioner during the Clinton session.
    At the same time, Clinton questioned the broader social utility of the investment at issue in the Goldman case – known as a derivative
    _____________________________________-
    They are mad because they paid to your wife and President Obama over $1,450,000.00 dollars to protect them from hardship that YOUR Democratic Party created through ACORN, Fannie and Freddie. It was created through permitting derivatives in the first place, your Alan Greenspan, your watch, the first economic meltdown. So your Administration created this phony baloney sales of nothing and now your coffee boy goes after Wall Street bankers for trying to cleanse the market of your dirty laundry. Go Away back under your rock Billy, we are not as all stupid as you seem to think!

    April 28, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. Wade

    To "Peter" (See below comment)

    Sooo, George Bush signed the legislation for the 2 bailouts back in 2008...that Obama is taking/getting credit for....hmmmm. If that's the case, then has Obama REALLY done ANYTHING since taking office? AND, if the stimulus package is working, then why isn't Obama praising Bush for starting the slow economic recovery? Something smells here....like stink on stink.

    April 28, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. Jim Brodie

    Bill's the father of a Wall Streeter who is marrying a Wall Streeter. Do you think Chelsea could've gotten that job without Mom & Dad's "help"? I'd take any comments he makes on this subject with a HUGE grain of salt. (yeah, he's a real socialist, right righties?)

    April 28, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. David

    If a similar situation occurred (of course on a smaller scale) by an individual or a smaller company charges or fraud would definetly be made, both civil and criminal. I would suggest there there would be case law on the books already.

    April 28, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Hoooah Boy

    Bill, you disapoint me, I did not know you were a Lap Dog for Goldman. How much did they have to pay you, under the table of course, for your endorsement? This doesn't even sound like something I would expect you to be commenting on. Why are you coming to the rescue of a company that biled thousands of people out of their money, and contributed to the housing catastrophe that threatened to wipe out millions of American homeowners? Why not focus your time on your charity work, rather than hypothesize and theorize on somebody else's business?

    April 28, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    The GS product in question wasn't a derivative, it was a very complex structured product called a re-securitization (in this case, a CDO-squared) – in effect taking slices of many different asset pools, combining them and then re-slicing. These products, because they were almost impossible to value by all but the most sophisticated issuers and investors, have completely disappeared from the markets since the crisis and are unlikely to ever return due to market forces, not regulatory intervention.

    For those of you slamming derivatives and saying they don't serve a societal purpose, if you've ever had a fixed rate mortgage (or other loan), you've used a derivative; if you've ever bought an airline ticket months in advance, you've benefitted from the hedge in fuel price fluctuations that an airline company uses derivatives for; the list goes on...

    April 28, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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