The top member of the Connecticut Senate told NBC Connecticut that David Lehman, the nominee to lead the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, has not yet been approved by lawmakers.
Sen. Martin Looney, (D – New Haven), said a vote will not happen this week as Lehman continues to meet with members of the State Senate.
“I think what we’re trying to do is due diligence on this appointment. Obviously, the period during which he was active at Goldman Sachs is one at which there was grave concern about Goldman Sachs,” Looney said.
Lehman spent most of his professional career at Goldman, reaching leadership roles within the financial institution. He carried the titles of managing director and partner. When he was 28, Lehman worked in a part of Goldman that packaged securities to be sold and marketed to investors. Those securities included high-risk mortgages, which led to the financial crisis, and the loss of billions in investment and retirement accounts for millions of Americans.
Goldman eventually paid $5 billion in fines for its role in the financial crisis.
Lehman even testified before Congress to answer questions about his role in the meltdown of the American economy.
Some Democrats have told Sen. Looney that they need more information before they go ahead with a vote on his confirmation.
Looney said, “We have to vet that fully and we have our legal team doing some research on that looking back at a lot of the studies and investigations that were conducted after the collapse in 2007 and 2008 and looking at Goldman Sachs’ role in it.”
Before the committee that decides on executive nominations, Lehman forcefully denied any role in knowingly packaging or selling junk investment products.
He said, “Any suggestion that I knew a product was going to be worthless and subsequently sold it to a client is completely and wholly untrue.”
Gov. Ned Lamont has also come to Lehman’s defense. Even though Lehman only met Lamont shortly after the November 2018 election, Lamont has been his strongest ally. He told WNPR last week that Lehman was suffering, “guilt by association,” for having worked for Goldman.
A vote on Lehman could happen next week, but not before Lehman has had contact with more lawmakers and more information is gathered on what exactly he did at the financial giant.
Looney says he will not predict how the vote may go.
“That’s something I wouldn’t jump ahead of,” he said. “I think that’s something we’d have to discuss collectively as a caucus.”