Obama: “Categorically” No Heads Up from the SEC on Goldman Case

Apr 21, 2010 5:02pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports:  President Obama today denied that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) discussed with the White House their fraud case against Goldman Sachs ahead of time and that his administration found out with everyone else. “Categorically, we found out about it on CNBC,” Obama said to CNBC’s John Harwood today in an interview, “The SEC is an entirely independent agency that we have no day-to-day control over. And they have never discussed with us anything with respect to the charge that would be brought. So this notion that somehow there would be any attempt to interfere with an independent agency is completely false.” During his 2008 presidential campaign then-Senator Obama received about $1 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs employees. Today, he defended that money in essence – and said no one who gave him money then should be surprised now by his stance on Wall Street. “I got a lot of money from a lot of people,” Obama argued. “The vast majority was from small donors all across the country. And moreover, anybody who gave me money during the course of my campaign knew that I was on record, again, in 2007 and 2008, pushing very strongly that we needed to reform how Wall Street did business.” Mr. Obama was also asked about his former White House Counsel, Greg Craig, who is now going to represent Goldman Sachs. The president said today that this is not a problem, as Mr. Craig is a top lawyer being hired, it just excludes him from being able to lobby the White House. “He’s one of the top lawyers in the country. He has a range of clients. But we have the toughest ethics rules that any president has ever had, and the one thing he knows is that he cannot talk to the White House. He cannot lobby the White House. Once he left the White House, he cannot in any way use his former position to have any way to influence on us.” Obama said that neither the campaign contributions of Goldman Sachs nor Greg Craig’s new role would have “any bearing” on how they move forward on Wall Street reform. -Sunlen Miller

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