WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 11: Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein testifies before the House Financial Services Committee February 11, 2009 in Washington, DC. Executives from the financial institutions who received Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds were questioned about how they spent the money. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Lloyd Blankfein
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein may have had his tongue in his cheek when he said his bankers were doing “God’s work,” but the company’s critics aren’t laughing.
In fact, a couple hundred of them — led by Service Unions International Union president Andy Stern — plan to gather outside of Goldman Sachs’ Washington offices Monday morning to protest the firm’s mega-bonuses, and demand the end of the "too big to fail" doctrine, according to a press release.
The event will be held outside 101 Constitution Ave. N.W., an office building that’s home to many of the most powerful lobbyists and corporations in town, including Goldman. It’s also where you can find POLITICO’s Capitol Hill bureau (in the basement).
Among their demands, the protesters will say that Goldman bankers should donate their reported $23 billion in bonuses to foreclosure prevention programs.
Public Citizen will release a new report during the event analyzing how much the various bailout recipient like Goldman are spending lobbying on financial reform, which the groups say is aimed at squashing real reform.
Goldman is one of the few large financial firms that early on chose not to lobby against the left’s favorite part of the financial reform package — the creation of a consumer financial protection agency. And most if not all of the major Wall Street players say they agree no firms should be too big to fail and support at least the principle behind Democrats’ proposals to end the "too big to fail" era.
But Goldman and other Wall Street firms are very opposed to a new idea gaining traction on the “to big” front — legislation that would empower the federal government to preemptively break up big, complex or interconnected firms even if they’re healthy. Goldman is a member of a coalition, Partnership of New York City, that will meet with the New York congressional delegation next week to urge their resistance to such measures.
Measures like Kanjorski’s would “inflict particular damage on New York, … [and] we hope every member of the delegation will make it their business to oppose them,” the group wrote in a Nov. 11 letter to the New York delegation, which was full of statistics showing the importance of the financial industry to News York — directly employing more than 680,000 people statewide and each one of those Wall Street jobs generating or maintaining an additional 3.3 jobs in other areas.
“There are plenty of ways to achieve reform and reduce risk and taxpayer exposure without destroying institutions that are the anchors of our global financial center,” the group wrote.