Sanders voiced his concern in a letter to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and during remarks at an Economic Policy Institute conference.
Goldman Sachs yesterday reported that its profits surged on second-quarter income of $3.44 billion. The turnaround came less than a year after reckless investments by Goldman and other Wall Street firms triggered a worldwide recession and drove many rivals out of business.
With the good times rolling again on Wall Street, Goldman repaid its $10 billion taxpayer bailout and now plans to dole out the biggest bonuses in its 140-year history. The investment bank reportedly plans to pay as much as $20 billion this year in bonuses and other compensation, about $700,000 per employee. Goldman is one of 10 big banks that announced plans to return bailout funds so they could evade restrictions on executive compensation and bonuses.
In a keynote speech at an Economic Policy Institute conference, Sanders argued that any firm that received a taxpayer bailout through the Troubled Asset Relief Program or the Federal Reserve should be subject to strict limits on compensation and should not be rewarding bonuses to senior executives.
The Senate in April approved 59-39 an amendment by Sanders calling on the Fed to disclose the names of all of the institutions that received more than $2.2 trillion in taxpayer assistance, how much each received and what they are doing with this money. The amendment was included in the final version of the Budget Resolution.
"Chairman Bernanke and the Federal Reserve have got to understand that this money does not belong to the Federal Reserve. It belongs to the American people," Sanders said. "As long as the Federal Reserve is allowed to keep the information on their loans secret, we will never know the true financial condition of the banking system."