Because AIG is all about giving away our tax dollars to a bunch of rich-ass Cramer and Santelli types again and again and again with their bonuses. Only in the biggest of big business can a failed enterprise have the chutzpah to give bonuses to these scoundrels.
UPDATE: Sen. Russ Feingold is asking the treasury secretary how we can revoke these bonuses AIG is paying out with our money.
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold is urging the Obama administration to explore legal options to cancel $165 million in bonuses the American International Group (AIG) intends to pay its executives, despite receiving taxpayer-funded bailout money. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Feingold requested to know what legal options have been explored for canceling the bonuses, recouping the money from the recipients, or suing the executives for breaching their fiduciary duties to AIG shareholders.
“As you know, the federal government has provided AIG with $170 billion in taxpayer money and currently owns 80% of the company,” Feingold wrote. “I share your outrage that a company which has been bailed out by the taxpayers for its mistakes would turn around and pay its executives such a staggering sum of money.”
Feingold, who voted against the Wall Street bailout, also questioned AIG’s defense of the bonuses. As reported in the New York Times, AIG’s government-appointed chairman, Edward Liddy, claimed in a letter to Geithner that the bonuses are needed because otherwise, AIG “…cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the AIG businesses.”
“Since some of the recipients of these bonuses may have been responsible for the practices that drove the company to the brink of collapse – jeopardizing the financial system – I am sure many Americans will question whether they are indeed “the best and the brightest” and whether they deserve this level of taxpayer-subsidized compensation,” Feingold wrote.
If the White House is smart – both politically and practically, they’ll find a way to bring the hammer down on AIG.