That Goldman is sending so many of its employees to testify before the panel underscores the lengths to which it will go to restore its tarnished image and declining share price.
Their testimony will put a spotlight on a case that has already become a subject of political acrimony. On Tuesday, Republican members of the House oversight committee released a statement accusing the Securities and Exchange Commission of political motivations in its pursuit of a case against Goldman.
They suggested that the action was timed to coincide with the Democrats’ effort to pass new financial regulations, and they demanded information about any coordination the agency might have had with the White House to affect the timing of the suit.
The commission’s chairwoman, Mary L. Schapiro, responded on Wednesday: “The S.E.C. is an independent law enforcement agency. We do not coordinate our enforcement actions with the White House, Congress or political committees. We do not time our cases around political events.”
President Obama also addressed charges of collusion in an appearance on CNBC on Wednesday. The S.E.C., he said, “never discussed with us anything with respect to the charges.”
The executives are expected to make arguments similar to those they have laid out in public since the suit was filed and in written responses to the S.E.C.’s initial inquiry last fall.
Among them were that the investors in the deal were sophisticated enough to understand what they were buying, that a bearish hedge fund manager’s influence in choosing components of the investment was not material and that the S.E.C. was faulting Goldman through the lens of “perfect hindsight.”
Even if the executives can effectively use the Senate appearance to persuade their clients, if not the broader public, of the firm’s innocence, putting so much testimony on the record voluntarily could give the S.E.C. more ammunition, legal experts said.
“Experience has shown that top executives who testify put themselves in jeopardy,” said Mark C. Zauderer, a veteran corporate litigator at Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer in New York. He added, “Notwithstanding a desire to tell your story, spreading it on the public record in a hostile environment is not a great idea.”