Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
In the New York Times this morning, Gretchen Morgenson and Don Van Natta raised eyebrows by getting hold of Henry Paulson's phone records for the week of the AIG bailout and reporting that Paulson — the former CEO of Goldman Sachs — spoke more than two dozen times that week with the current CEO of Goldman Sachs. This, they say, was "far more frequently" than he talked with other Wall Street executives.
But Matt Taibbi has a different take. He's curious not about why Goldman was consulted more than any other bank, but about why Goldman was consulted at all:
The main players involved in the AIG bailout that weekend were AIG (obviously), JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs....Now, we know why AIG was there, obviously. Morgan Stanley was there representing the Treasury (it had been hired to advise the Treasury on the bailouts by Paulson during the Fannie/Freddie mess [...]). JP Morgan we know was there because AIG had hired them weeks before to come in and try to clean up its messes. Only Goldman Sachs did not have an official role at these proceedings.
So why was Goldman there?....The ostensible explanation that most people seem to accept is that Goldman naturally was there because it was such a large counterparty to AIG. But I suspect we’re going to find that Paulson was not on the phone two dozen times with executives from Deutsche Bank or Societe Generale or Barclays or Calyon, all of whom were significant counterparties to AIG as well.
No, I'll bet he wasn't. So why Goldman?