be traced back to a couple of major events. The first major change to the regulatory framework that opened the door to Enron and the sub-prime crisis occurred in 1991, when Goldman Sachs, through a subsidiary called J. Aron, argued that even though it was an investment bank it should be granted the same exemption given to commercial traders in the commodity markets because it was in the business of buying commodities as a middleman. It was granted by the CFTC.
A second turning point came when Congress passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, that formally allowed investors to trade energy commodities on private electronic platforms outside the purview of regulators. Critics have called this piece of legislation the "Enron loophole," saying Enron played a role in crafting it. In the months after the act was passed, private electronic trading platforms sprang up across the country, challenging the dominance of NYMEX.
Investment banks like Goldman's had been frustrated with the established exchange because they really were never able to get control of it according to Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland and a former staff member at the CFTC. The new law allowed them to create a private trading platform. The most successful of the private platforms was InterContinental Exchange, or ICE, founded by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and a few other big brokerages in 2000. ICE soon opened a trading platform in London, allowing its founders to trade vast quantities of U.S. oil overseas without being subject to regulation. This opened the floodgates to oil price speculation.
Suddenly comes the current economic chaos and the president calls a meeting of Congressional leaders, Treasury, Federal Reserve staff and the presidential candidates. Obama, who was staying away from Washington during the crisis got the call and at the meeting he spoke about economic issues that reportedly had been prepared by the Republicans and was being reviewed by Treasury yet wound up in the Obama campaign. Of course the Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulsen was a former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs as is the new head of the $700 billion Treasury bailout program.
Do we really know anything about the long term relationship between Obama and Goldman Sachs other than their massive fund raising for him? Since he has been secretly guided and financed by Goldman people from the very beginning of his presidential campaign were they influential in his economic platform? Obama never questioned the role of Goldman in the sub-prime fiasco nor in manipulating the oil futures prices. When Goldman specialists tried to drive the price of oil up to $200 a barrel this year Obama never said a word.
Long before this time the Goldman Sachs Foundation had quietly channeled funds to Colin Powell's new group, America's Promise and Powell himself was collecting honorariums from $50,000 to $100,000 for speaking to various groups including Goldman sponsored events. At some point between the time he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs