GOP probes whether Goldman charges were politically timed

A top House Republican wrote the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday to request documents on whether the commission deliberately timed filing its charges against Goldman Sachs.


Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), the top Republican member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, asking for evidence as to whether the SEC timed announcing their fraud case against the Wall Street giant to coincide with congressional Democrats' bid to overhaul the nation's financial regulatory infrastructure.

"The events of the past five days have fueled legitimate suspicion on the part of the American people that the Commission has attempted to assist the White House, the Democratic Party, and Congressional Democrats by timing the suit to coincide with the Senate’s consideration of financial regulatory legislation, or by providing Democrats with advance notice,” Issa wrote. "The American people have a right to know whether the Commission, or any of its officers or employees, may have violated federal law by using the resources of an independent regulatory agency to promote a partisan political agenda.”

Other Republicans have resisted saying outright that the SEC might have issued the fraud charges out of political pressure, though reluctance on the part of Republicans to draw the connection appears to have softened amidst reports that the SEC approved the charges in a party-line vote, with all three Democrats voting to formalize the fraud allegations.

The Obama administration has consistently said that the SEC's actions were independent.

"The SEC’s enforcement action is something that they’ve undertaken on an independent basis, as they do all their enforcement actions," Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said in a gaggle Tuesday on Air Force One.

Issa's letter was co-signed by seven other House Republicans. Find more details on the letter here.