AIG Bonuses: Some Perspective

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 15:12:30 +0000

Yesterday was a good day to get exercised about AIG bonuses. The most interesting revelation was this one:

While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the 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.

Dodd’s original amendment did not include that exemption, and the Connecticut Senator denied inserting the provision.

“I can't point a finger at someone who was responsible for putting those dates in,” Dodd told FOX. “I can tell you this much, when my language left the senate, it did not include it. When it came back, it did.”

“Because of negotiations with the Treasury Department and the bill Conferees, several modifications were made,” Dodd Spokesperson Kate Szostak in a response to FOX Business.

The provision excluding those bonus payments made it into the final version of the bill, and is law.

Separately, Sen. Dodd was AIG’s largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election cycle with $103,100, according to opensecrets.org. Also, one of AIG Financial Products’ largest offices is based in Connecticut.

With all due respect to my esteemed co-blogger, maybe Senator Dodd should have taken some time to read the bill before he voted on it.

But this is the last I intend to blog on AIG bonuses. We are talking about payments of $165 million out of a $170 billion bailout (so far). Will we get as exercised about the other 99.9%+ of the taxpayers' money? I hope so, but I doubt it.