Scroll down for video
Chairman Carl Levin, to the delight of the crowd at the hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, continually repeated a descriptive, colorful word typically left out of family newspapers that was used by a top Goldman executive to describe a deal it made for clients.
The security, named Timberwolf I, a collateralized debt obligation of other CDOs that were based not on actual home mortgage bonds but instead on those bonds' movements, was referenced in a June 22, 2007, email from one Goldman senior executive, Tom Montag, to another, Dan Sparks. Sparks is testifying today before Levin's panel.
In his email, Montag remarked of the Timberwolf I deal, "[B]oy, that timeberwof [sic] was one shitty deal."
Levin used the word "shitty" 12 times -- eliciting multiple rounds of quiet giggles -- in questioning Sparks, the former head of Goldman's mortgage department, about why Montag would describe it as "shitty," how long they had known it was "shitty," and whether they knew the deal was "shitty" when they peddled it to clients.
"Our clients' interests always come first," Goldman says on its website.
That security was rated less than three months prior to Montag's email. It lost 80 percent of its value within five months of issuance. Sparks and Montag have since left the firm.
Levin grew exasperated with Sparks' non-answers: "I don't think you want to answer."
The next panel member to ask questions, Susan Collins (R-Me.) also grew frustrated, saying that she was already getting tired of Sparks' evasiveness after 30 seconds.
Here is video of the "shitty deal" moment:
And here is HuffPost video editor Ben Craw's mashup of the "shitty deal" moment:
Here is video of Sparks' evasiveness: