- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2002

For a freshman senator who spent more than $60 million of his own money to capture 50.1 percent of the vote in his 2000 election, New Jersey Democrat Jon Corzine arrived on Capitol Hill with an overabundant supply of chutzpah. Evidently due to his experience as co-chairman and CEO of the Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs from 1994 to 1999, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was only too happy to enlist Mr. Corzine's services as designated inquisitor-in-chief immediately after Enron imploded last December.

Now, Mr. Corzine has come under scrutiny for the role played by Goldman Sachs in the stock-market bubble that greatly expanded on his watch. As David Boyer of The Washington Times reported yesterday, a class-action suit filed last year charged that Goldman Sachs underwriters were involved in manipulating numerous initial public offerings (IPOs), including at least six when Mr. Corzine was at the firm's helm. Mr. Boyer also reported that Nicholas Maier, who was syndicate manager at the Wall Street firm Cramer & Co. from 1996 to 1998, has told Securities and Exchange Commission investigators that Goldman Sachs routinely forced him to buy stocks at inflated prices if he wanted to participate in the red-hot IPO market. Calling Mr. Corzine's firm "the worst perpetrator" of such a scheme, Mr. Maier charged that Goldman Sachs "totally fueled the [market] bubble." Mr. Corzine denies any such involvement by Goldman Sachs, and the courts will have to determine who is telling the truth. But he cannot deny his firm's role in the Enron debacle.

How, one wonders, does Mr. Daschle think Enron raised the billions and billions of dollars over 15 years to build its house of cards that crashed and burned last year, destroying more than $50 billion in shareholder value? As it happened, no investment bank on Wall Street "earned" more underwriting fees from Enron since 1986 than Goldman Sachs. And, no other investment bank was more bullish on Enron for a longer period of time than Goldman Sachs, whose market guru Abby Joseph Cohen was indispensable in raising Enron's share price to its $90 peak and whose analyst David Fleischer pushed this dog all the way until the bitter end. That is Mr. Corzine's Goldman Sachs record. The jaws of scandal have a bipartisan bite.


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