UPDATE: Senator Dodd Now Admits That Democratic Leaders Not Only Knew Of The Upcoming Bonuses – But That Obama White House and The Treasury Deprtment Insisted On The Amendment That Engineered The AIG Bonuses:
As the American Public becomes outraged over an additional set of Executive Bonuses at AIG and the Governemnt continues to break its promise of “transparency” on how our tax dollars are being spent -what are the Democrats in Washington doing?
They are lying to the American people, again and again and again.
Obama’s top economic advisor, Larry Summers, called the bonuses and retention payments “outrageous”. http://blogs.abcnews.com/george/2009/03/summers-on-aig.html . On Sunday, Summers, Chairman of the White House National Economic Council, said, “”There are a lot of terrible things that have happened in the last 18 months, but what’s happened at AIG is the most outrageous.” Gee, you might think he didn’t know the bonuses were coming. That he hadn’t been told about tthe payments in advance, months in advance. Did you know that 11 of the Executives who will receive $1 Million plus “retention payments” have already left their employment with AIG? http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/politics/2009/03/17/aig-bonus-checks-may-be-taxed-at-up-to-100-says-sen-chuck-schumer.html
In a phone call Wednesday to AIG CEO Edward Liddy, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said it was unacceptable for the company to give out tens of millions of dollars in bonuses for senior executives after the government committed $180 billion to keep the struggling company afloat. http://blogs.abcnews.com/george/2009/03/summers-on-aig.html. Gee, one might think that Timmy Geitner hadn’t received advance notice of the payouts, the specifics in fact, of whom, where and how much. The information supplied in detail by AIG months ago.
Obama even chimed in pledging to “pursue every legal avenue” to get AIG to roll back the $165 million in bonuses. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601068&sid=aGpBlzh8xoXY&refer=economy Harsh language to use towards one of his biggest political contributors, specially in light of the fact that his Administration was fully informed, in advance, of the upcoming bonuses and even supported Democratic Senator Dodd’s amendments to protect these payouts. (The Obama Administration now refers to the Amendments as the “Dodd Amendments”).
So now Obama, after having had advance notice of the bonuses, pledges to “pursue every legal avenue” to get AIG to roll back the $165 million in bonuses As if he, Obama, a Harvard trained Attorney, doesn’t know the attempt has no legal basis, already. First year law students all over the Country must be rolling their eyes back in their heads after hearing this. Political spin is one thing, but why not be straight with the American public and stop the blatant lies. Didn’t the President previously call such bonuses “shameful” and promise to eliminate them. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102×3713683 Then why didn’t he do so when he had the chance?
If you remember the President’s past empty promises in this regard and thought they had become law prior to the last two AIG Bailouts (the 3rd and 4th) – you’d be wrong.
Politico reports the following today, 03/17/09, ”The furor over bailed-out insurance giant AIG is adding urgency to President Barack Obama’s longtime plan to tighten regulations on financial firms, with an administration plan now set for unveiling next week.” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20089.html
I am one of many who recall the President telling all of America that this was a done deal. A deal signed, sealed and previously sold to the American people as delivered. No more “bonuses”, no more “perks”, caps on “compensation”.
“The plans will take shape at a hearing by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who will take the lead on the complex, heavily lobbied issue.” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20089.html
Just what the American Public needs, another “secret plan” to be developed over the next several months and then poorly implemented by this Administration. Reminds me of the highly touted “bank stress test” that was being developed behind closed doors – a test whose specifics have never been released for public review. Remember the “new stress test” was not to be confused with the standard “stress test” previously employed by the Treasury Department.
Democrats, who have an overwhelming majority in Congress and who, despite their attempts to blame Bush – were the party to pass not only the first bailout bill, but the second, third and forth, not to mention the passage of a stimulus package 0f $700 Million and that nearly $4 trillion dollar budget bill. In total the Democrats have spent nearly $9 Trillion Dollars – an amount that could pay, in round numbers, $79,000 to every family in this Country.
Now the Democrats pretend to be outraged! Why is that? They knew the bonuses were coming months ago.
Why the sudden political farse over a miserly $450 Million in bonuses and retention payments for employees who may no longer work at AIG. (After all we are not talking billions or trillions here). http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/finance/dodd-cracks-aig—time/
Simply put – the Congress is blowing smoke in your eyes and up your ***. Congressional actions claiming that the AIG bonuses will be taken back in “special tax laws” are solely intended to mislead the public. Any such attempt will be found to be unconstitutional and end up costing the American Taxpayers, not only the bonus money but Attorneys fees, Court costs and interest when the aggrieved AIG employees demonstrate just how silly such an action would be at the closest available Court House. In a few days, after the Democrats believe they have bought all the available “cover” they can muster over this travesty, they will quietly let the idea of a “special” and “discriminatory” tax die. http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/politics/2009/03/17/aig-bonus-checks-may-be-taxed-at-up-to-100-says-sen-chuck-schumer.html
Just how far does this obfuscation go? Lets examine Senator Dodd, Democrat, Connecticut. Dodd is one of the Democrats in Congress calling for a the enactment of what would be a discriminatory tax against AIG employees. http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/politics/2009/03/17/aig-bonus-checks-may-be-taxed-at-up-to-100-says-sen-chuck-schumer.html
Doesn’t Dodd know such action would be struck down as discriminatory? Of course he does. If he did not he would not be fit to hold his office, would he? Then why is he raising such a fuss over such a non-starter of an idea. (I’m sure the Senate research staff is scratching their heads and saying, “they suggested what?’). Dodd is trying to deflect the public from noticing that he, himself, opened the door for these very bonuses.
The proof of cuch a claim – right here. Dodd’s office recently announced that, “Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate banking committee, demanded a full briefing from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury on why clauses weren’t attached to the four various AIG bailouts to halt bonuses.” http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/politics/2009/03/17/aig-bonus-checks-may-be-taxed-at-up-to-100-says-sen-chuck . Yet the Senator well knows that while the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to that very bill. The provision, now called “the Dodd Amendment” by the Obama Administration, provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009” — which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are now seeking to tax. http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/finance/dodd-cracks-aig—time/
Obama & Dodd Were Friend’s Of AIG Before AIG Was Their Enemy
Obama may be grandstanding about AIG’s bonuses now, but it’s worth noting that Obama himself is the second biggest benefactor of AIG political contributions. Second only to Senator Chris Dodd, who is quietly trying to tip-toe away from legislation he inserted into Obama’s “stimulus” spending spree that protected AIG’s bonuses. http://www.kxmb.com/News/Nation/346030.asp
“Senator Barack Obama received a $101,332 bonus from American International Group in the form of political contributions according to Opensecrets.org. The two biggest Congressional recipients of bonuses from the A.I.G. are – Senators Chris Dodd and Senator Barack Obama.” The A.I.G. Financial Products affiliate of AIG. gave out $136,928, the most of any AIG affiliate, in the 2008 cycle. I would note that AIG’s financial products division is the unit that wrote trillions of dollars worth of credit-default swaps and “misjudged” the risk. http://www.kxmb.com/News/Nation/346030.asp
On Monday, Obama lambasted the insurance giant for “recklessness and greed” and pledged to try to block payment of the bonuses. http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/headline_news/article.jsp?content=D96VUNH00&page=2&cb=0 Gee, I wonder if Obama will return the AIG political contributions in the same way he returned convicted felon Tony Rezko’s contributions after they became public knowledge?
Why are the Politicians acting surprised now?
China’s Xinhua News Agency Reports that, “However, the bonuses for AIG executives were paid legally, part of a program that had been disclosed in advance in filings that the insurer made with the government, the U.S. media reported. Sharp questions have been raised about what the administration knew about the bonuses, and when.” http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-03/18/content_11028286.htm
How is it that the major American News organizations did not lead with this story on tonight’s news broadcasts. Bloomberg reorted on these payments last December, “Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) — American International Group Inc., whose bonuses and perks drew fire from lawmakers after the insurer accepted a federal bailout, will make special retention payments that more than double the salaries of some senior managers, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Some executives among 130 recipients will get more than $500,000, about 200 percent of their salaries, to stay through 2009, said the person, who declined to be named because the information hasn’t been publicly disclosed. An undetermined number of lower-paid employees will also get cash awards to dissuade them from quitting, the person said.” http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aGf.YgVHEPYQ&refer=home
This article appeared months prior to Senator Dodd’s “amendment” that specifically allowed for the bonuses he now “rants about.
The publication “Canadian Business” reports, “The bonuses were paid under legal contracts, part of a program that had been disclosed in advance filings that American International Group Inc. made with the government.” http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/headline_news/article.jsp?content=D96VUNH00
The Article is titled, “Democrats threaten strong action to recoup AIG bonuses through new taxes”. The article highlights the idle nature of the Democratic threats. Specifically, the publication noted that, “Even though AIG’s bonus plans were disclosed last year, outrage and threats poured forth from Capitol Hill on Tuesday.” Does the word hypocrisy come to mind?http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/headline_news/article.jsp?content=D96VUNH00
These very same Politicians who now pretend outrage knew of these planned bonuses and retention payments 6 months ago. Why Senator Dodd authored the amendment that protected these very payments! The White House was kept fully informed by the Senator’s staff.
|1.||a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.|
|2.||a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.Origin: From the Greek Language – a stage actor, hence one who pretends to be what he is not|
As an additional note: Did you know that an alternative amendment was offered to the one authored and passed by Senator Dodd and the Democrats, however, the Democrats lack of bi-partisanship prevailed. ”Republicans said Democratic leaders last month killed a plan that would have forced financial institutions to compensate taxpayers if they paid their executives large bonuses after receiving federal bailout money. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, a co-sponsor of the amendment to Obama’s stimulus bill, said striking it “left open an escape hatch of golden parachutes for top executives on Wall Street.” Snow is one of the Republican Senators to consistently cross party lines to support Obama’s initiatives.” http://news.aol.com/article/congress-threatens-to-tax-aig-executives/386132
AOL news also reports that, “Though AIG’s bonus plans were disclosed last year, Congress’ outrage and threats have begun pouring forth only recently.” http://news.aol.com/article/congress-threatens-to-tax-aig-executives/386132
So despite the fact that Democrats in Congress new, since last fall, that 73 AIG executives were to be paid in excess of $1 Million in bonuses (11 no longer work for the company) and that certain Executives would receive multi-million dollar bonuses, nothing was done. Well almost nothing was done – Senator Dodd authored and the Democrats passed an amendment that protected these bonuses.
Now that the facts have become public the political theatre has started.
AIG POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS IN 2008
Democrats $442,996 Republicans $142,792 Independents $0 Total: $442,926
House of Representatives: # of Members Ave Amount Total Amount
Dems 34 $3,069 $104,350
Reps 21 $1,223 $25,693
Dems 18 $17,906 $322,322
Reps 15 $6,816 $102,249
Senator Chris Dodd $103.100
Senator Barack Obama $101,332
Obama and Dodd received $204,000 of the $443,000 in total political contributions made by AIG last year – almost half of the total amount spent by AIG. http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/finance/dodd-cracks-aig—time/
Filed under: AIG, Bailout, Banking, Banking Crisis, Financial Crisis | Tagged: AIG Bonuses Plans Previously Disclosed To Obama & Dems, Dodd Amendment Allowed AIG Bonuses, International Press Describes AIG Bonus Flap as Political Theatre |