Is the Fraud Case Against Goldman Sachs Politically-Motivated?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 20, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Goldman Sachs just got slapped with civil charges by the SEC. Congressman Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, wants to know, is the timing of the civil charges politically motivated? Congressman Issa went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, nice to see you, sir.

REP. DARRELL ISSA, R- CALIF.: Well, thanks for having me back on, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I have a letter that you have written, signed by a number of your colleagues, to the Honorable Mary Schapiro, chairperson of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Why are you writing her?

ISSA: Well, because we have a lot of things that don't make any sense based on tradition and how the SEC has worked that we want to know about. Certainly, we want to know why they released during the trading day, something they don't normally do. Certainly, we want to know about the fact that the Democratic Party and the president's own team jumped on fund- raising as a result of this.

And additionally, as things come out, we start asking questions, like, Well, why is it's on the same day as 151-page scathing IG report about the SEC? So we're -- we're not saying that they coordinated, but we are concerned that there clearly was a leak, or The New York Times wouldn't have run the story before the announcement.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, just so I understand it, what you're talking about is that the civil charges by the SEC...

ISSA: Right, the lawsuit.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... against Goldman Sachs came out -- came out at the time that the president is seeking a financial regulatory reform bill on Capitol Hill. And that -- you think...

ISSA: Greta, I didn't even get to that part yet!



ISSA: You know, there's this long list of coincidences, yes, of course...

VAN SUSTEREN: But you think the effort was -- you think that they used the civil charges in order to get the American people all upset about Goldman Sachs so that they would put pressure on Republicans in the Senate to really move forward with this.

ISSA: Well, that's certainly...


ISSA: That's certainly a question we have. And Greta, I don't have answers to these questions. What I see is a very unusual event. They could have done this partisan, party-line 3-to-2 vote in the SEC and released it six months ago, six months from now. And they -- for that matter, they could have at least released it after the trading day, as is their tradition.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I've only got two questions (INAUDIBLE) One is you say the partisan 3-2 -- there are five members of the SEC. Three are -- two -- two are Republicans, two are Democrats and one's an independent, and the independent you are assigning as a Democrat to make the three, I take it.

ISSA: It would seem that it lined up...

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. OK. I...

ISSA: ... at least the two Republicans opposing, and...

VAN SUSTEREN: And the historical fact, she has previously been appointed by President Reagan and President Bush 41.

One of the things that Democrats want to create -- President Obama wants to create an outside entity, a brand-new agency to protect the consumer. The Senate Democrats want to create this agency but within the Federal Reserve. Has anyone bothered to investigate whether or not within our huge government structure, whether or not the SEC, the FTC or the Federal Reserve already has the authority to protect the consumer and perhaps dropped the ball and maybe the problem is that someone's not doing his or her job to begin with, rather than create these huge agencies?

ISSA: Well, certainly, you see the SEC lawsuit as an example where there's no lack of authority to go after bad actors. You're right. At least multiple agencies all had the ability to do a part of it.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it is being used politically -- you -- you think that the Goldman Sachs thing is being used politically? It is possible that this whole idea that we're creating this agency to protect the consumer is the political weapon that's used against you for the midterm elections, rather than this Goldman Sachs thing.

ISSA: It could well be. I admire Ray LaHood, who, when he came before our committee, with this disaster that the American people saw of Toyota, having questions about lots of different recalls -- and we asked him, Do you need more authority? He said, No, I have all the authority I need. Are you going to be able to fix this? Yes, I am. Yes, I will. I have enough funding and I have it. So here I had a cabinet officer who was willing to say NHTSA had dropped the ball. They had not been overseeing the auto companies properly. But he didn't come to us for new authority. He came and said it was wrong...

VAN SUSTEREN: So he didn't want a whole 'nother agency.

ISSA: He didn't want a whole 'nother agency. But he's the exception in Washington.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, but if you actually go to the SEC website and look at their mission, their mission is to protect the consumer. The FTC, mission is to protect the consumer. So for the life of me, until we can sort of take a look at our government and certify that we don't already have the present apparent ability to do -- to fix the problem that led to the meltdown, why do we go out and create another agency?

ISSA: Greta, I'll give you three good examples of why you're right. First of all, Bernie Madoff. Second, Al Stanford. Third, the whole question of rating agencies and how they were calling people AAA that weren't. All three of these, the SEC dropped the ball on, the last one being related to the financial collapse.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it's not that they don't have the authority, it's that they didn't do their jobs. And so in some ways, this whole Goldman Sachs -- I don't -- I think that's a coincidence. I think this creation of this external agency to protect the consumer is more likely to be sort of the political folly.

ISSA: You could well be right. But one thing the American people, right, left and center, are all worried about is the growth of government and the growth of government wanting to become more complex, with more agencies and more control over our lives. And that's not Republicans talking, that's everybody scared that, in fact, government has become so government-centric that they only listen to government.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I'm in favor of creating an outside agency, or even an internal in the Federal Reserve, if I could be convinced that it doesn't exist now, the ability, and -- and...

ISSA: Greta, we do not lack the jurisdiction or the ability, if agencies like the SEC took the tough cases and did their job. They did not in Bernie Madoff's. They did not in Stanford. And they did not go after the rating agencies.


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