Page 3 of 3   <      

Financial bill in limbo going into key vote

Lawmakers on both sides are acutely aware of the widespread anti-Wall Street backlash. On Sunday, officials seized on that sentiment, saying the recent fraud charges against Goldman Sachs highlight the need for new regulations, even as they declined to comment specifically on the recent case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"From my perspective and the perspective of a lot of people in America, we've got to end, once and for all, the casino atmosphere of Wall Street, where they are gambling, basically, on synthetic ideas and so forth," Shelby said on NBC.

Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," Obama's chief economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, said the Goldman case shows the "very, very important" need for meaningful financial reforms.

Summers said: "This underscores what is at the center of the president's vision here: the importance of transparency; the importance of things being in the open; the importance of it being known who's in a position to benefit from what; who's got a stake in success; who's got a stake in failure."

Goldman chief executive Lloyd C. Blankfein and fellow executives are scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The panel released e-mails over the weekend showing Goldman executives in 2007 celebrating the windfall they stood to make from betting housing prices would fall.

Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) suggested that Goldman's actions were indicative of an investment-bank culture that often bet against the very products it sold and benefited at the expense of clients.

Staff writer Shailagh Murray contributed to this report.

<          3

© 2010 The Washington Post Company