Monday, March 16, 2009

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the AIG Bonuses

Over the weekend it was revealed that AIG, which has received something like $170 billion in bailout funds, because it was too big to fail, was awarding tens of millions of dollars to executives in its financial services offices -- the people who pumped the world economy full of ponzi derivatives. The Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, was told by the head of AIG that the bonuses can't be halted because they are promised in contracts signed last year.

Outrage about this is pretty much universal in the United States, so far as one can tell. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reports that Congress will seek to recover the funds. Here is the report to her blog, issued yesterday:

AIG Bonuses Are Unconscionable - Congress Will Examine Legal Options to Recover Taxpayer Funds
March 15th, 2009 by Speaker Pelosi

While American workers see their wages decline and face record job losses, it is unconscionable that AIG, which is receiving more than $170 billion in government assistance, would permit such extravagant executive compensation practices without any accountability to the taxpayer.

I have asked Chairman Barney Frank of the House Financial Services Committee to examine options that are legally available to recover taxpayer funds of companies that abuse the privilege of taxpayer assistance.

I call upon the executives at AIG to right the wrong they have done to American taxpayers, who are footing the bill for the most expensive government rescue in history. They should renounce the bonuses and refuse the excessive retention pay they previously agreed to.

Congress, working with the Obama Administration, has put in place tough executive compensation and responsibility measures to ensure that taxpayers are protected and we will continue to take all action necessary to ensure transparency and accountability.


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