Yesterday we talked about the AIG bonus controversy that’s causing a furor with the American people. Despite the fervent wishes of several men in expensive suits (notably Obama, Timothy Geithner, Edward Liddy and most especially Christopher Dodd), the American people are not willing to drop this topic quite yet.
Obama publicly took the blame for the fiasco with a “the buck stops with me” statement, while also pointing out that his administration was responsible neither for the lack of oversight that caused AIG to fail, nor for these bonuses being granted.
On Capitol Hill, AIG CEO Edward Liddy sat uncomfortably in a witness chair and lamely asked that any employees who received a bonus in excess of $100K please return it. Pretty please, with sugar on top? I’ll give you a gold star…
Dodd’s camp continued to deny that it was his amendment, right up until Christopher Dodd went on Wolf Blitzer to try to talk himself out of being held responsible for what CNN was already calling “The Dodd Amendment.” This made for very entertaining televsion viewing, as Chris Dodd gave an interview trying to distance himself from the amendment while CNN scrolled news of “The Dodd Amendment” below him.
Dodd then copped to maybe possibly adding some language that could have maybe caused these loopholes… but only because Geithner made him do it. To be fair, some reports are now saying that the actual loophole that permits the AIG bonuses was in fact tacked onto the Dodd Amendment at the request of the Treasury Department. The game of Whodunit isn’t over, and it isn’t pretty.
Chris Dodd tried to defend the amendment with this statement:
“We wrote the language in the bill, the deal with bonuses, golden parachutes, excessive executive compensation that was adopted unanimously by the United States Senate in the stimulus bill. But for that language, there would have been no language to deal with this at all.”
The baffling weakness of that statement coupled with the elaborate tap dance he’s done to try to deny ownership of “The Dodd Amendment” has earned Chris Dodd a second Fantasy T-Wearer Award today, with the They Made Me Do It T-shirt above.
UPDATE: The House passed a bill to recoup bonuses at 90% paid to any employee, making in excess of $250,000, who was bonused by any company getting $5 billion or more from the government bailout program (the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP). The matter now falls to the Senate.
As for the matter of Whodunit, Timothy Geithner is now stepping up to the plate to assume responsibility for the loophole addendum.