Congressman grills former Treasury Secretary on massive conflicts of interest
Paul Joseph Watson
Monday, July 20, 2009
Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns completely crucified former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson last week on everything from his bailout bait and switch to his tax dodging on $200 million in profits from Goldman Sachs. Paulson’s stuttering and embarrassing attempt to respond made him look guiltier than a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
During the confrontation, Stearns slammed Paulson for his “bait and switch” when he deceived Congress into passing the bailout bill under the proviso that the $750 billion dollar package would be used to purchase toxic debt when in fact it was used to bail out failing financial institutions.
“You came here and you said this two and a half page bill that you wanted $750 billion dollars, then immediately after you got approval from Congress you changed it, you baited us and you switched it, and then you started giving money to these institutions,” said Stearns, asking why Paulson had failed to help people really hit by the recession, struggling homeowners who are facing foreclosure, and instead started handing the money to his banker friends.
As we have previously highlighted, Paulson committed economic terrorism when he threatened Congress that there would be martial law, civil unrest and even food riots if they did not pass the bailout bill, all under the justification that it was needed to buy toxic debt. And yet within 10 days, the entire direction of the program was changed and the money was handed to failing banks, while the destination of trillions more was hidden by the Federal Reserve who refused to disclose where it had gone.
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“Isn’t there some point you should have recused yourself,” asked Stearns, referring to Paulson’s conflict of interest as former CEO of Goldman Sachs, adding that it was “outrageous” for Paulson to claim he “felt the pain of AIG”.
Paulson’s decision to bail out AIG resulted in a $13 billion payment to Goldman, while Goldman rival Lehman Brothers was allowed to collapse.
Paulson was barely able to get a response in as he stammered through a broken rebuttal, before Stearns went on the attack again, questioning why Paulson had failed to pay tax on $200 million dollars worth of Goldman Sachs shares that he had sold.
“You had a $200 million dollar profit and you didn’t have to pay any tax – isn’t that true,” asked Stearns. Paulson’s reaction spoke volumes as he stuttered through another aborted response.
Stearns then pressed Paulson again on his conflicts of interest, stating, “Isn’t there some point where you say hey, I’ve got a conflict of interest here, you don’t feel any kind of scintilla of ethics on this thing at all?” Paulson responded by claiming that he got a waiver from the ethics agreement.
Watch the clip below.
This article was posted: Monday, July 20, 2009 at 5:00 am