Both Chris Dodd (D-Conn) and Democrat President Obama have voiced righteous indignation about the AIG bonus payouts. But when you look a bit deeper, you wonder why both men are complaining — after all, they each had a major part in allowing the payouts to go forward. First, the President, in a press conference, stating they knew where AIG spent all the money (that would include the bonus).
From White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ briefing two weeks ago, when $30 billion in additional funds were announced for AIG. AIG had at this point designated $165 million in retention bonuses for officers of the Financial Products subsidiary, as well as an additional $121.5 million in executive bonuses.
TAPPER: AIG, is the administration confident that it, that it knows what happened to the tens of billions of dollars previously given to AIG?
GIBBS: Is it confident — I’m sorry?
TAPPER: That they know — that you guys know what happened to the previous billions before you hand over this next $30 billion.
GIBBS: Yes — yes, the — I mean, I don’t think it’s a — well, obviously, you’ve got a huge insurance company that is losing money, not the least of which because of its sheer size and sheer size and decrease in the growth in our economy. It experiences a far bigger drop, largely because of its size. But, again, the steps that — that Treasury and — and others took were to ensure a larger systemic problem wasn’t one that we had to deal with here today in letting something just die.
TAPPER: But in terms of specifically the — I guess it’s like $150 billion before, you guys are confident…
So the President says he knew where the money went — and that includes the bonus money. Gee, wonder why he never complained about it until now? We’ll see why after examining Chris Dodd’s role.
While the Senate constructed the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd unexpectedly added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009,” which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are seeking to tax. The amendment is in the final version and is law.
So why is Chris Dodd (D-Conn) upset? He added law exempting bonuses to the stimulus bill. And now he feigns indignation?
So what do Mr. Obama and Mr. Dodd have in common, besides both men knowing those bonuses were to be paid out from the bailout money (one stated he knew where the money was spent, the other specifically exempted bonuses). They’re both number 1-2 in political contributions from AIG, Mr Dodd first at $103,000 and Mr. Obama second at $101,000 (third place was less than $60,000, and then fourth place on drops to $35,000 and less – so Obama/Dodd fed the most at the lobbyist trough. Data from Opensecrets.org).
And that’s how they can both encourage and know those bonuses would be paid, and then (for political reasons) feign being upset about it, when they knew it all along. Same old politics in play — do one thing behind closed doors for lobbyist $$$, do another for the public.
That’s change we can’t believe in, just more of the same old-school Washington garbage.