Last Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil lawsuit against Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs for allegedly selling mortgage investments that were secretly intended to fail in order to help “investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market.” This week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) cried foul, claiming that the White House and Congressional Democrats conspired with the SEC to file the lawsuit to spur anti-Wall Street sentiment at a time when Congress is debating a new financial regulation bill.
Issa’s case is partly based on a Democratic National Committee (DNC) purchase of AdWords on Google so that the search terms “Goldman Sachs” and “SEC” returned links to the DNC’s “Wall Street greed” website. The lawsuit and the ad buy “neatly coincided,” Issa claimed. However, Google confirmed yesterday that the DNC made the purchase a full three hours after news of the lawsuit broke. “This conclusive evidence is the final nail in the coffin of this ridiculous Republican conspiracy theory,” a DNC spokesperson said.
Nevertheless, on CNN today, Issa continued with his charge. “It is a very politically motivated attack by the SEC,” he claimed. But when host Tony Harris pressed for hard evidence of this alleged White House-Democratic Party-SEC conspiracy, Issa couldn’t produce the goods and finally admitted that he has no proof:
HARRIS: What do you have? Do you have a document? Where do you get to make a claim like — What do you have?
ISSA: Look, first of all I have letters out to do discovery and I have not been given responses. [...] So do I have other proof? No. But do I have an event that occurred there? Do I have an event with the SEC that shouldn’t have happened?
Yesterday during an interview with CNBC, President Obama “categorically” dismissed Issa’s allegation and said he “found out about [the lawsuit] on CNBC.” “The SEC is an entirely independent agency that we have no day-to-day control over. And they have never discussed with us anything with respect to the charge that would be brought,” Obama said, adding, “So this notion that somehow there would be any attempt to interfere with an independent agency is completely false.”