Prison Garb for the Goldman Gang
CODEPINK was at the Senate Office Building just when the doors opened at 7am, determined to be the first in line to get into the hearing with Goldman Sachs. We had met CEO Lloyd Blankfein before, when we jumped on stage during one of his talks at the height of the bailout and politely asked him to give us our money back.
This time we were less polite. The more we’ve learned about Goldman Sachs ripping off the American public, the more disgusted we’ve become. Just before the hearing began at 10am, we changed into our costumes: prison suits with the names of the Goldman banksters, crime scene tape and WANTED posters. There were four of us: myself, Ann Wright, Tighe Barry and Polly Miller, but with all our paraphernalia, we looked about twice our numbers!
The first panel of Goldman crooks included the young, French broker, Fabric Tourre, aka Fabulous Fab. Last week, the SEC filed fraud charges against him for helping a hedge-fund billionaire make a killing by dumping worthless mortgage securities on unsuspecting Goldman customers and then betting against those very securities. In the broader context, these shenanigans contributed to the burst of the housing bubble and millions of Americans losing their homes.
Fabulous Fab was incredibly arrogant and refused to acknowledge any ethical lapses, much less illegal activities. We, however, were there to show the public outrage. We had Fab’s mugshot on WANTED posters and after his testimony, we ran after him as he and his entourage rushed out of the Senate. We were shouting out our questions so loudly that we were detained by the police who threatened to arrest us. After they ran an ID check on us and we pleaded to be freed, the police relented and we were allowed to return to the hearing—if we kept seated and quiet.
The last to testify was CEO Lloyd Blankfein. It was hard to sit still and be quiet while this character testified. He, too, was arrogant beyond belief and refused to admit any wrongdoing.
The hearing went on for 10 hours! Senator Carl Levin was quite spectacular in his questioning. So were some of the others, like Senator Claire McCaskill, who kept talking in terms of unscrupulous Vegas bookies who were gaming the system.
Sadly, we were the only protesters in the entire hearing, but we felt we represented the millions of Americans who lost their homes, the millions of Americans who lost their jobs, the millions of hard-working people who are losing their pensions and their health benefits while these guys continue to make out like bandits, make double the profits.
We can only hope that the hearing represents some movement towards real reform and accountability. And we will hold on to the dream that one day, the Goldman gang will be serving time. As we chanted outside the hearing, “They shouldn’t be too big to fail, and they’re not too big to go to jail!”