Stephen Friedman, co-chairman of Goldman and White House chief economic adviser
Around Goldman, Mr. Friedman is remembered for having built the company's lucrative practice of advising companies on mergers and acquisitions.
In 2002, President George W. Bush chose the tenacious Wall Street veteran as his chief economic adviser. Mr. Friedman's co-chairman at Goldman, Robert E. Rubin, led President Clinton's National Economic Council.
Mr. Friedman generated some controversy as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during the financial crisis, when the Fed was helping put together a rescue plan for Wall Street. He stepped down from that role in 2009 after questions arose about his ties to Goldman.
Joshua B. Bolten, executive for Goldman Sachs International and White House chief of staff
The former Goldman executive grew up in establishment Washington, the son of a Central Intelligence Agency officer. Mr. Bolten was the White House legislative affairs director for part of the administration of the first President Bush.
Under the second President Bush, he was deputy White House chief of staff, then director of the Office of Management and Budget and finally chief of staff. Mr. Bolten played an important role in putting together the Bush tax plan and helped recruit another Goldman executive, Henry M. Paulson Jr., as Treasury secretary. In 2008, the House voted to issue contempt citations against Mr. Bolten and a former White House counsel for refusing to cooperate in an investigation into the mass firings of federal prosecutors.
Robert K. Steel, vice chairman of Goldman and under secretary of the Treasury
Before the financial crisis, Mr. Steel was co-chairman of one commission that claimed that heavy-handed regulation was hindering financial innovation and another that argued that hedge funds could police themselves. By April 2008, he was extolling the powers that a "superregulator" might wield over Wall Street one day.
"When you are driving fast down a slippery road, sometimes a regulator needs to tap lightly on the brakes to get you to slow down," Mr. Steel told The New York Times. But to many on Wall Street and on Main Street, the car had already crashed.
Henry M. Paulson Jr., chief executive of Goldman and Treasury secretary
Before he became Treasury secretary in 2006, Mr. Paulson agreed to hold himself to a higher ethical standard than his predecessors. That plan did not survive the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The government propped up the teetering financial system with tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, including aid that directly benefited his former company. To deal with the financial crisis, Mr. Paulson tapped so many former Goldman executives that bankers coined the nickname "Government Sachs."
"I operated very consistently within the ethic guidelines I had as secretary of the Treasury," Mr. Paulson told lawmakers in 2009, adding that he asked for an ethics waiver for his interactions with his old company "when it became clear that we had some very significant issues with Goldman Sachs."
Mr. Paulson helped decide the fates of a variety of financial companies, including two longtime Goldman rivals, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, before his ethics waivers were granted. Ad hoc actions were taken by Mr. Paulson and officials at the Federal Reserve, like letting Lehman fail and compensating the trading partners of the American International Group.
Neel T. Kashkari, investment banker for Goldman and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Mr. Kashkari arrived in Washington in 2006 after spending two years as a low-level technology investment banker for Goldman in San Francisco. Today, he runs the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and compares banking to the nuclear power industry.