Senator Claire McCaskill was interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today Show this morning:
Matt Lauer, NBC Today Show: …But basically it’s a temporary deal. You know where this is gonna end up, don’t you?
Senator Claire McCaskill (D): Well, that’s the point. Uh, why? Why do we play these games? This is a serious problem. Let’s get to work. Uh, the, the ranking Republican on the Banking Committee said we know what happened, we know what we need to do to fix it, and we’ve worked on this for fifteen or sixteen months. This is just what’s been going on in Washington. The Republicans are banking on something. They’re banking that the American people won’t be paying close attention that they’re on the side of Wall Street and we’re trying to fix the problem.
Matt Lauer: Well, well, but you don’t expect them to stay even if you want to accuse them of being on the side of Wall Street. In an election year they can’t possibly benefit from that.
Senator McCaskill: I, I mean, I, who knows? Uh, this is beyond comprehension that they’re refusing to let us debate. That is nonsense. We just want to debate the bill. They wouldn’t even offer amendments in committee. They clearly are calculating that the public is so sick of all of us that if this thing fails because we’re in charge we’ll get blamed.
Matt Lauer: But.
Senator McCaskill: That’s the calculation…
…Matt Lauer: Let me move on to these hearings with these top Goldman Sachs, uh, executives, past and present. Senator, can, can these guys get a fair shake in front of this committee today? I mean, we know there is public outrage against Wall Street banks and any time you have outrage against individuals or a groups and they come before a Senate hearing it, it, the cold hard truth is lawmakers tend to do some grandstanding. They want to appear on the news looking tough. So will these guys be listened to today or are they just gonna get bashed?
Senator McCaskill: Well, I think they’ll be listened to. And, and I’m gonna go out of my way to make the point that this was lemming like behavior. I had one guy on Wall Street tell me, well, the only thing we were afraid of was whether or not we got a bad article in the Wall Street Journal. We weren’t afraid of regulators. Uh, so this was, you know, industry wide, this, this casino mentality where they were making up stuff to bet on. I mean, literally, that’s [crosstalk] what they were doing.
Matt Lauer: But, but let me ask you this. Have you already decided that Goldman Sachs is guilty of the fraud charges leveled against it by the SEC? Because you came out last night and said the SEC was in a coma before they acted on Goldman. Well, the way they acted on Goldman was to file fraud charges. Have you already been judge and jury here? Don’t they deserve a day in court?
Senator McCaskill: Absolutely. And the question here really, Matt, is not whether or not they have legally or illegally acted. The question is, right and wrong. Good old fashioned right and wrong. Moral or immoral. And I think the entire activities of Wall Street over the last five years as they created these more and more complex made up stuff to bet on, they were like the casino, but they had less regulation than Las Vegas.
Matt Lauer: Well, what it sound like what you’re saying is the question is not, is maybe they didn’t break the rules, maybe there weren’t rules in place to stop them from doing what they did.
Senator McCaskill: Which is exactly the point. That is exactly why today when we get another chance to vote on debating the appropriate amount of regulation on Wall Street I’m hoping the Republicans quit playing games and let us get to work….
Of all the stoopid questions: “…Have you already decided that Goldman Sachs is guilty of the fraud charges leveled against it by the SEC? Because you came out last night and said the SEC was in a coma before they acted on Goldman. Well, the way they acted on Goldman was to file fraud charges. Have you already been judge and jury here? Don’t they deserve a day in court?…”
Uh, the real question should be, when was the SEC asleep at the wheel? Under what administration? And what was that administration’s universal attitude toward regulation?
And Claire McCaskill has the message discipline to point out that the republicans are obstructing any discussion of any financial regulation. That would mean that the republicans are fine with things they way they were and the way they are now, right Matt?