Famed Wall Street critic Matt Taibbi is claiming to know a thing or two about the anatomy of the nation’s top lawyer.
In a blog post slamming the Justice Department’s decision last week not to prosecute Goldman Sachs over allegations surrounding the financial crisis, Taibbi accused Attorney General Eric Holder of having, well, no balls.
“Holder’s non-decision on Goldman is more than unsurprising,” Taibbi writes. “It amounts to an official announcement that the government is no longer in the business of prosecuting smart criminals. It’s pathetic. The one thing you pay any lawyer to have is balls, and our nation’s top attorney has none.”
The crux of Taibbi’s argument is that federal regulators charged with policing and enforcing penalties on Wall Street “only go after the most obvious and easily prosecutable cases.” The result: The statute of limitations for regulators to prosecute Wall Street for crimes related to the financial crisis may pass without a major case from the feds, according to The New York Times.
In Goldman's case, the allegations, which included that Goldman tried to sell securities to clients that it privately described as “crap,” were aired out in front of a Congressional hearing in 2010. Still, the Justice Department said the evidence just didn’t meet the burden of proof necessary to bring criminal charges.
But Taibbi -- who is perhaps best known for the Goldman takedown that marked the bank forever as the Vampire Squid -- isn’t the only one that’s accusing regulators and watchdogs of backing down when the path to prosecution isn’t obvious. Following the announcement, ex-bailout watchdog Neil Barofsky said that Goldman’s non-prosecution was a reminder that no major institution or person had been held responsible for the financial crisis.
Simon Johnson, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and a Huffington Post contributor, said he was “shocked, but not surprised,” by the decision.
"It reflects a pattern of failing to hold these large institutions accountable,” Johnson said in an interview shortly after the decision was announced. “To not even try sends a double signal, that there are different standards for us and for Wall Street."