We didn’t know that AIG was granting bonuses …
According to ABC News …
“Obama Administration: We Didn't Find Out About AIG Bonuses Until This Month”
“Sources in the Obama administration Tuesday said that despite previous media reports administration officials did not know until a couple weeks ago that the officials of the controversial AIG Financial Product Division were set to receive $165 million in bonuses on March 13.”
“It wasn't until Monday, March 5, 2009, administration sources told ABC News, that officials of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York informed officials of the Treasury Department of the full extent of the $165 million in bonuses pending for the controversial Financial Products Subsidiary.”
“This was three days after the Obama administration had already announced a new commitment of an additional $30 billion for AIG. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was alerted last Tuesday, March 10; he phoned AIG CEO Edward Liddy on Wednesday evening, March 11, to protest the bonuses, sources told ABC News.”
So why should I be surprised when all of the bonuses were ruled to be legal under the Dodd Amendment …
Why should it come as no surprise that Senator Dodd (D-CT), recipient of a “Friend of Angelo” mortgage, was the single largest recipient of campaign cash from AIG donors during the 2008 election cycle? Barack Obama was fourth -- but he wasn't in Congress as long as Dodd.
And why is Dodd trying desperately to circumvent the very AIG bonus protection scheme that he placed into stimulus bill that protects “contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009?” The very bonuses which are being so loudly criticized by the media and members of Congress.
Could this be another case of a politician who provided legislative relief for his “special interest” campaign donors?
That’s the way I see it. And that’s what is wrong with Congress today – they are all motivated by special interest campaign contributions and voter support – the public be damned. They rely on the short memories of the public and the ability to overcome any negatives with well-financed media campaigns.
It is time that Dodd is removed from the Senate Banking Committee, if for no other reason than giving the appearance of impropriety and special dealing.
Appearances can be deceiving: here is the way the Dodd Amendment was sold by the media to the public …
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An amendment in the $787 billion economic stimulus package passed by Congress Friday would severely restrict bonuses and other forms of compensation for top executives at companies receiving federal bailout money.
Sen. Chris Dodd's amendment will affect more executives than previously anticipated, financial analysts say.
The amendment by Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, would impose wide-ranging restrictions on how -- and by how much -- top executives at companies receiving federal bailout money can be compensated.
The measure would cap bonuses -- already often far more lucrative than base salaries for top executives -- and could require executives at companies that have already received bailout money to pay back some of their compensation if it exceeded certain limits.
Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, said the amendment was aimed at imposing "tough new limits on huge bonuses" for executives at firms receiving money from the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
"The decisions of certain Wall Street executives to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers have seriously undermined public confidence in efforts to stabilize the economy. American taxpayers deserve better," Dodd said.
But some financial industry advisers and analysts said Saturday that the amendment was far tougher than what even President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner proposed recently, particularly in the number of high-paid executives and employees it would affect. <Source>
The devil is in the details …
Except from H.R. 1 --
SEC. 111. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE …
(3) SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS.—The standards established under paragraph (2) shall include the following:
(A) Limits on compensation that exclude incentives for senior executive officers of the TARP recipient to take unnecessary and excessive risks that threaten the value of such recipient during the period in which any obligation arising from financial assistance provided under the TARP remains outstanding.
(B) A provision for the recovery by such TARP
(C) A prohibition on such TARP recipient making
(D)(i) A prohibition on such TARP recipient paying
(ii) The prohibition required under clause (i) shall
(I) For any financial institution that received
(II) For any financial institution that received
(III) For any financial institution that received
(IV) For any financial institution that received
(iii) The prohibition required under clause (i) shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009, as such valid employment contracts are determined by the Secretary or the designee of the Secretary.
(E) A prohibition on any compensation plan that would encourage manipulation of the reported earnings of such TARP recipient to enhance the compensation of any of its employees.<Source>
Who writes these bills?
Bills are written by staff policy wonks, with much input from lobbyists and others who suggest specific language to be incorporated into the bill. Very few legislators have the actual ability to craft the legislation they offer to the public and subsequently vote on. The provisions are often extremely broad and the details left up to the Agency head administering the legislative provisions. The actual legislation is also subject to Presidential Signing Orders and Agency Staff Interpretations and Guidelines. All modified by court challenges and various other factors and interpretations. The numbers contained in the bills are often estimates and are subject to further modifications by follow-on legislation and/or technical corrections. Therefore, what you see is not what you might get.
And who reads them?
We have all seen that this bill was delivered to those voting on its provisions only hours before the required vote. An insufficient time for anyone, even a skilled policy wonk, to read the more than 407 pages of densely printed legislativese – much less understand what is contained in this bill.
This bill subverted the legislative process …
This bill was not scrutinized during the normal committee processes in either the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate -- and was offered up pretty much on a take or leave it basis. After all, the President, Barack Obama, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, were all loudly screaming “EMERGENCY!” And, according to the people who should know, there was little or no Republican input into the final bill as Republican amendments and restrictions were not received or honored.
Normally a proposed piece of legislation wends its way through committees who hold hearings and debate the merits of the bill before it is introduced to the entire legislative body. The bill is often heavily amended by those seeking to put their own spin on things or to secure personal or political advantages. Often, different versions of the House and Senate bill exist – and after passage by their respective chambers will be reconciled into a single bill by the conference committee before going forward. In the past, we have seen conference committee members add and subtract legislation without debate or consideration. And once signed, the bill becomes law. Subject, of course, to the whims of further Congressional action, the interpretation by the President, and the implementation by the Agency bureaucrats. Considering what is contained in this bill, with much of the so-called “stimulus” being delayed for years, it is no wonder that personal policy provisions, like those offered by Senator Christopher Dodd manage to escape detection and further scrutiny by other legislators. Certainly not being detected or reported on by the mainstream press who has proven that they are in the tank for President Obama and the legislative democrats.
Bottom Line …
Senator Christopher Dodd is not worthy of his office and should not be re-elected in 2010 as well as being shunned as a lobbyist when he most likely returns to walk the halls of Congress.
Dodd, as quoted in the above CNN news story was right about one thing: American taxpayers deserve better.
What can YOU do?
Terminate Chris Dodd’s Committee Chairmanship and vote him out of office during the next 2010 election cycle. As further proof of his duplicitous and disingenuous nature, consider that --
“Dodd announced in a letter to the Federal Election Commission that he was no longer a candidate for the Senate in 2010, although this action was likely done so he could transfer funds from his re-election bid to his presidential campaign, and not to signal that he would not run for re-election.” <Source>
Realize that the real outrage shouldn't be the relatively puny bonus amounts, but the $37 BILLION plus dollars that went directly to European financial institutions (Société Générale, Deutsche Bank, Barclays and UBS ) as AIG paid off on faulty credit default swaps. In fact, there is every possibility that this is just a diversionary tactic to cover up the true recipients of the billions provided to AIG.
Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.
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“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS