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Apr 30, 2010


Bryan Rahija

Thought it'd be worth sharing some of Senator Levin's thoughts on the hearing for more context (from this article)

It was surprising how much the Goldman Sachs executives talked. How did you get them to reveal what they did?

LEVIN: By confronting them with their own documents. A lot of time and work goes into getting huge amounts, literally millions, of documents ... I think when people are confronted by their own documents by someone who's really studied those documents; it's easier to force them to respond.

They obviously were trying to delay and evade answering. We had a willingness to take them on and not let them talk forever, telling them, "Hey we'll stay here all night if we have to, but we're going to get the information we want."


What has been the takeaway from the whole series of hearings on the crisis? Has the point been to educate or help make the case for financial reform?

LEVIN: I think this gives [financial reform] a powerful boost. A number of my colleagues have felt this information is very useful in terms of the debate. From millions of pages [of evidence], we finally selected about 2,500 pages for four hearings, with long opening statements [from the committee] laying it out. I hope it's been useful in terms of informing the debate and I think it has been in producing specifics, so we have examples of problems and not just arguing theory.

Danielle Brian

Observer II,

LOVE that you are expecting more! I don't disagree with your criticisms of some of the Senators' command of the facts in this last hearing. Perhaps I was a little too effusive in my praise because I was so excited to see a breakthrough from what has been a near oversight coma on the Hill? But given the three near back-to-back hearings this relatively small staff put on, I do believe the PSI staff deserve an atta boy.

Danielle Brian
Executive Director

Observer II

Team Pogo: do you really think the subommittee staff did a great job? I know you'd like to take a little credit because of your handy (and, yes, useful) handbook, but give us a break: the document binder was big, but it was clear it was hard to use. Not only slow-moving GS hands, but the senators and staff often spent a lot of time looking and flipping. McCaskill even lifted off while referring to the wrong document--and never apologized to the GS guy she was interrogating and berating. Frankly, the senators who had mastery of the material were Levin, Kaufman, Coburn. Claire, Johnny and others sounded pretty vague and unsure, although each senator was able to dish out well-rehearsed scolds. Problem was, their questions usually had not elicited the right GS responses upon which to build the scolds. The scolds were usually just extensions of their verbose opening statements. In 3 of every 4 instances, they could not score--but they made their scolds anyway. If staff talked with the GS guys before, they did not benefit much from it. And many of the points the senators were trying to eke out from emails were a stretch. And the subcommittee had 18 months to pull this together? Not impressive. You at POGO know the higher standard of staff work sometimes scene on the Hill, and this was not it.

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