Embattled executives from Goldman Sachs faced a virtual firing squad on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Past and present employees of the investment firm deny accusations of financial misconduct that some say caused the economic collapse.
"The Wild, Wild, West with less oversight than a pit boss in Las Vegas." That's how Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill described the world in which Goldman Sachs was operating in 2006 and 2007.
During the course of its 18 month investigation, the Senate panel has collected two million emails detailing the company's transactions.
"Any street gambler would never place a bet with a bookie or a house with the record that is revealed in the documents this committee has gathered," McCaskill said.
Senators are looking into allegations that Goldman knowingly profited from the housing meltdown, reaping billions at the expense of its clients.
"There's no doubt their behavior was unethical, and the American people will render a judgement as well as the courts," Arizona Senator John McCain said.
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently filed charges against the company specifically naming Fabrice Tourre.
The 31 year old Goldman Sachs trading executive is accused of marketing an investment designed to lose value.
In one email, Tourre called himself, "the fabulous fab, standing in the middle of all these complex exotic trades."
"I deny categorically the secretary's allegations, and I will defend myself in court against this false claim," Tourre said.
The hearing comes just one day after Republicans blocked efforts by Senate Democrats to pass the most sweeping reforms to the financial industry since the Great Depression.
The legislation would crack down on housing market investments that set off the crisis.
Republicans say they don't want to rush another massive bill through Congress.
"At the time, things happened in the market and were accepted in the market, that in hindsight, look very different," Dan Sparks, a former Goldman Sachs Employee, said.
It was a market that benefited lawmakers royally.
Goldman Sachs has given politicians more than 30 million dollars over the last two decades, much of it to Democrats.