Man Without Qualities

Thursday, October 03, 2002

About that OTHER New Jersey Senator

The Wall Street Journal is reporting (the New York Times has a less impressive article):

Prominent executives at 21 U.S. companies personally received hot IPO shares from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which pocketed lucrative investment-banking fees from those companies during the stock market's extraordinary rise in the late 1990s, according to congressional investigators. Two executives of major Goldman clients -- eBay Inc. Chief Executive Margaret Whitman and Yahoo Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang -- each received shares in more than 100 initial public offerings of stock managed by Goldman since 1996, and quickly resold many of the shares at a profit. Among others, executives or directors of WorldCom Inc., Enron Corp. eToys Inc., and Global Crossing Ltd. also received IPO shares.

The list of recipients of Goldman largess that follows in the Journal article reads like a Who's Who of the corporate Go-Go nineties. The Times is less detailed.

Such an extensive list of prominent executives, and such huge amounts, all bespeak a policy made at the very top of Goldman.

And just who was at the top of Goldman while most of this generosity was being effected?

Jon Corzine ran Goldman until shortly before he was elected as the junior United States Senator from New Jersey.

As a side note, Mr. Corzine was persuaded to run for that office (a run which cost him $65 Million of his own money) by senior United States Senator for New Jersey, Democrat Robert Torricelli.

Mr. Corzine's own biography says:

Jon Corzine was elected to his first term in the United States Senate in November 2000, after a long and successful career as an investment banker. The former co-chairman and co-chief executive officer of the investment company Goldman Sachs, Senator Corzine's private sector experience and financial expertise has put him in the forefront of a number of major economic and regulatory issues confronting the Congress. He is a member of the Senate Budget Committee, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee.....

In 1975, Senator Corzine was hired as a bond trader at Goldman Sachs, and he and his family moved to New Jersey. He was named a partner in 1980. He became chairman and chief executive officer in 1994. He left Goldman Sachs in May 1999 after successfully converting the investment firm from a private partnership to a public company.

So Mr. Corzine left Goldman in May 1999, and he ran it from 1994 until he left. That covers just about all of the period of Goldman generosity now under investigation.

And by November 2000 Mr. Corzine had been elected Senator from New Jersey at Mr. Torricelli's urging! Could these alleged Goldman shenanigans help explain Mr. Torricelli's attraction to, and admiration of, Mr. Corzine?

Does it make the reader feel better to see all that biographical information in official print?

Of course, before getting carried away, please keep in mind that Goldman denies every insinuation of wrongdoing. That is, Goldman is denying the very same kind of insinuations of wrongdoing that the Democrats had been counting on to make "corporate accountability" their issue this election.

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