$1.6 Billion In Taxpayor TARP Money Paid For Executive Bonuses & Lavish Perks

$1.6 billion went to bailed-out bank execs

Records show bonuses, chauffeurs, health club benefits

updated 2:03 p.m. ET, Sun., Dec. 21, 2008

Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.

The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.

Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management, the AP review of federal securities documents found.

 

The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines.

 

The AP compiled total compensation based on annual reports that the banks file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 116 banks have so far received $188 billion in taxpayer help. Among the findings:

  • The average paid to each of the banks’ top executives was $2.6 million in salary, bonuses and benefits.
  • Lloyd Blankfein, president and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, took home nearly $54 million in compensation last year. The company’s top five executives received a total of $242 million.
  • Even where banks cut back on pay, some executives were left with seven- or eight-figure compensation that most people can only dream about. Richard D. Fairbank, the chairman of Capital One Financial Corp., took a $1 million hit in compensation after his company had a disappointing year, but still got $17 million in stock options. The McLean, Va.-based company received $3.56 billion in bailout money on Nov. 14.
  • John A. Thain, chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, topped all corporate bank bosses with $83 million in earnings last year. Thain, a former chief operating officer for Goldman Sachs, took the reins of the company in December 2007, avoiding the blame for a year in which Merrill lost $7.8 billion. Since he began work late in the year, he earned $57,692 in salary, a $15 million signing bonus and an additional $68 million in stock options. Like Goldman, Merrill got $10 billion from taxpayers on Oct. 28.

Banks that got bailout funds also paid out millions for home security systems, private chauffeured cars, and club dues. Some banks even paid for financial advisers. Wells Fargo of San Francisco, which took $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money, gave its top executives up to $20,000 each to pay personal financial planners.

At Bank of New York Mellon Corp., chief executive Robert P. Kelly’s stipend for financial planning services came to $66,748, on top of his $975,000 salary and $7.5 million bonus. His car and driver cost $178,879. Kelly also received $846,000 in relocation expenses, including help selling his home in Pittsburgh and purchasing one in Manhattan, the company said.

Goldman Sachs’ tab for leased cars and drivers ran as high as $233,000 per executive. The firm told its shareholders this year that financial counseling and chauffeurs are important in giving executives more time to focus on their jobs.

JPMorgan Chase chairman James Dimon ran up a $211,182 private jet travel tab last year when his family lived in Chicago and he was commuting to New York. The company got $25 billion in bailout funds.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28337800/page/2/

Let Your Congressperson Know What You Think!  Tell Congress To End The Bailouts Now!

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

 

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK – THE AUTO BAILOUT – 30 DAYS PAID VACATION

$17 Billion Dollars of Taxpayor Money for Two of the “Detroit 3” – General Motors and Chrysler are to receive $17 Billi0n Dollars in Taxpayor money. Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Company of American, Hundai USA, KIA USA, Honda of America, Volkswagon of America, nor any of the other Automobile Manufacturing Companies in the United States will, as a group, receive nothing in support of their activities in this Country.

What are GM and Chrysler doing for this $17 Billion Dollars?

Here is what they are not doing: They are not scheduling meetings with the UAW to work out a “NEW BUSINESS PLAN” that will allow the Companies to survive and prosper. They are not scheduling discussions with their supplier chain or sales and distrubution networks. They are NOT USING THE TIME TO FINALIZE THE SHUT DOWN OF THE “JOBS BANK PROGRAM” – THE PROGRAM THAT PAYS WORKERS NOT TO WORK, FOR UP TO 4 YEARS.

What are General Motors and Chrysler doing with your tax dollars – they a re closing their plants and shutting down production for 30 days – USING YOUIR TAX DOLLARS TO PROVIDE THEIR EMPLOYEES A 30 DAY PAID VACATION AT TAX PAYOR EXPENSE.

I wonder if you cab double dip – collect your “Job Bank Pay” not to work and get your 30 day paid vacation at the same time. I’m sure the UAW would consider that reasonable.    

Let your Congressperson know how you feel about this use of taxpayor dollars.

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

What Bailout Transparency? Banks Refuse To Disclose Where Money Is Going

IS THE AUTO BAILOUT NEXT?

Where’d the bailout money go? Shhhh, it’s a secret

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer

 

WASHINGTON – It’s something any bank would demand to know before handing out a loan: Where’s the money going? But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation’s largest banks say they can’t track exactly how they’re spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it.

“We’ve lent some of it. We’ve not lent some of it. We’ve not given any accounting of, ‘Here’s how we’re doing it,'” said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. “We have not disclosed that to the public. We’re declining to.”

The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what’s the plan for the rest?

None of the banks provided specific answers.

Some banks said they simply didn’t know where the money was going.

“We manage our capital in its aggregate,” said Regions Financial Corp. spokesman Tim Deighton, who said the Birmingham, Ala.-based company is not tracking how it is spending the $3.5 billion it received as part of the financial bailout.

The answers highlight the secrecy surrounding the Troubled Assets Relief Program, which earmarked $700 billion — about the size of the Netherlands’ economy — to help rescue the financial industry. The Treasury Department has been using the money to buy stock in U.S. banks, hoping that the sudden inflow of cash will get banks to start lending money.

There has been no accounting of how banks spend that money. Lawmakers summoned bank executives to Capitol Hill last month and implored them to lend the money — not to hoard it or spend it on corporate bonuses, junkets or to buy other banks. But there is no process in place to make sure that’s happening and there are no consequences for banks who don’t comply.

“It is entirely appropriate for the American people to know how their taxpayer dollars are being spent in private industry,” said Elizabeth Warren, the top congressional watchdog overseeing the financial bailout.

But, at least for now, there’s no way for taxpayers to find that out.

Pressured by the Bush administration to approve the money quickly, Congress attached nearly no strings on the $700 billion bailout in October. And the Treasury Department, which doles out the money, never asked banks how it would be spent.

“Those are legitimate questions that should have been asked on Day One,” said Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., a House Financial Services Committee member who opposed the bailout as it was rushed through Congress. “Where is the money going to go to? How is it going to be spent? When are we going to get a record on it?”

Nearly every bank AP questioned — including Citibank and Bank of America, two of the largest recipients of bailout money — responded with generic public relations statements explaining that the money was being used to strengthen balance sheets and continue making loans to ease the credit crisis.

No bank provided even the most basic accounting for the federal money.

“We’re choosing not to disclose that,” said Kevin Heine, spokesman for Bank of New York Mellon, which received about $3 billion.

Others said the money couldn’t be tracked. Bob Denham, a spokesman for North Carolina-based BB&T Corp., said the bailout money “doesn’t have its own bucket.” But he said taxpayer money wasn’t used in the bank’s recent purchase of a Florida insurance company. Asked how he could be sure, since the money wasn’t being tracked, Denham said the bank would have made that deal regardless.

Others, such as Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Carissa Ramirez, offered to discuss the matter with reporters on condition of anonymity. When AP refused, Ramirez sent an e-mail saying: “We are going to decline to comment on your story.”

Most banks wouldn’t say why they were keeping the details secret.

“We’re not sharing any other details. We’re just not at this time,” said Wendy Walker, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Comerica Inc., which received $2.25 billion from the government.

Heine, the New York Mellon Corp. spokesman who said he wouldn’t share spending specifics, added: “I just would prefer if you wouldn’t say that we’re not going to discuss those details.”

Lawmakers say they want to tighten restrictions on the remaining, yet-to-be-released $350 billion block of bailout money before more cash is handed out. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the department is trying to step up its monitoring of bank spending.

“What we’ve been doing here is moving, I think, with lightning speed to put necessary programs in place, to develop them, implement them, and then we need to monitor them while we’re doing this,” Paulson said at a recent forum in New York. “So we’re building this organization as we’re going.”

Warren, the congressional watchdog appointed by Democrats, said her oversight panel will try to force the banks to say where they’ve spent the money.

“It would take a lot of nerve not to give answers,” she said.

But Warren said she’s surprised she even has to ask.

“If the appropriate restrictions were put on the money to begin with, if the appropriate transparency was in place, then we wouldn’t be in a position where you’re trying to call every recipient and get the basic information that should already be in public documents,” she said.

Garrett, the New Jersey congressman, said the nation might never get a clear answer on where hundreds of billions of dollars went.

“A year or two ago, when we talked about spending $100 million for a bridge to nowhere, that was considered a scandal,” he said.

___

Associated Press writers Stevenson Jacobs in New York and Christopher S. Rugaber and Daniel Wagner in

WHEN CONGRESS PASSED “TARP” THEY PROMISED THE AMERICAN TAXPAYOR COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY – CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSPERSON AND DEMAND TO KNOW WHERE YOUR TAX MONEY IS GOING !  NO MORE BAILOUT FUNDS !

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

 

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