Love them or hate them, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) has become a punching bag for critics of Wall Street excess. That's hardly surprising for a company whose code of ethics literally includes the disclaimer, "From time to time, the firm may waive certain provisions of this Code." You'd think Goldman would have the sense to lay low after its recent iniquity, but no -- the behemoth broker's back in hot water again.

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) is the special congressional panel tasked with figuring out how the financial crisis occurred -- basically, the economic meltdown's equivalent of the 9/11 Commission. No matter how rich or how powerful you may be, if the Commission wants your documents or your testimony, you give it to them.

Unless, of course, you're Goldman Sachs.

Cooperation? Fat chance!
According to the FCIC, Goldman has been stonewalling since January, when the Commission first requested a bunch of documents. That's a stark contrast to the prompt compliance of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), and many other banks that may also have documents they'd prefer never see the light of day. Last week, the Commission finally slapped Goldman with a subpoena. (Moody's (NYSE: MCO) was also subpoenaed for its slow response time.)

Goldman did try to send some of its lobbyists over to meet with the Chairman, who promptly told them to go away.

What's with the intransigence? The Commission's Vice Chairman ruminates that "[Goldman] may have more to cover up than either we thought or than they told us."

Yeah, we'll get right on that
The material was related to Goldman's derivatives casinos, which the SEC accused of fraud, and which are now being subsidized by the FDIC and the Federal Reserve.

But here's the best part: The FCIC is made up of retired regulators, academics, state officials, and corporate directors. We're not talking about a bunch of trigger-happy cowboys who couldn't wait to stick it to Goldman. In short, this subpoena was long overdue.

Don't believe me? I've compiled a summary of the FCIC's timeline for your amusement:

Event Date




FCIC requests information related to January hearing.



FCIC requests additional information.

Goldman asks for extension; granted 3/5/2010 extension.


Hey, where's that information?

Goldman asks for extension; granted 3/8/2010 extension.


Goldman submits incomplete and inaccurate response.


4/16/2010 – 4/19/2010

Why was the information incomplete and inaccurate? FCIC also tells Goldman it wants to interview some employees.

Goldman requests extension until after next hearing; granted.

4/27/2010, 4/28/2010, 4/29/2010

With that hearing over, and the information still not provided, FCIC tells Goldman they may need to issue a subpoena.



FCIC discusses with Goldman lawyers what's missing.



Goldman tells FCIC they'll have the documents by 5/3/2010



Where are the documents?

Goldman submits incomplete information.

5/7/2010, 5/12/2010

FCIC warns Goldman that it's worried it still hasn't received the documents requested 1/28/2010 and 2/9/2010, and a subpoena might be necessary.



FCIC informs Goldman it wants all the documents from most recent hearing, and requests interviews in coming weeks.

Goldman claims emails submitted 3/8/2010 were responsive.


FCIC replies they were not responsive, and that they don't understand why Goldman continues to delay, even after numerous extensions.

Goldman dumps approximately 2.5 billion pages of documents on FCIC; in a month, the FCIC Chairman will vent, "We should not be forced to play 'Where's Waldo?' on behalf of the American people."

5/19/2010, 5/20/2010

FCIC requests targeted documents.

Goldman agrees to do so by 5/21/2010.


Goldman fails to submit the targeted documents.



FCIC reminds Goldman that a subpoena might be necessary if they don't comply.



FCIC calls up Goldman on the phone for a chat.

Goldman promises documents by middle of next week.

6/3/2010 (Thursday)

FCIC asks for status update, since -- you know -- the information was due like yesterday.

Goldman submits incomplete response that night.


FCIC finally issues that subpoena.


If Goldman thinks it can respond with this much arrogance to the Commission at a time when it's in the national spotlight, how likely is it that regulators will compel Goldman and its peers to behave in the future? Goldman's alleged stonewalling is just one more indication that Wall Street's learned nothing over the past few years.

For more on the future of banking, check out "The End Game for Wall Street."

Fool editor Ilan Moscovitz doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.