By EDMUND L. ANDREWS and JACKIE CALMES WASHINGTON — The question was direct and prescient. Representative Joseph Crowley, Democrat of New York, asked the Treasury secretary in an open hearing what could be done to stop American International Group from paying $165 million in bonuses to hundreds of employees in the very unit that had nearly destroyed the company.
Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, responded by saying that executive pay in the financial industry had gotten “out of whack” in recent years, and pledged to crack down on exorbitant pay at companies like A.I.G. that were being bailed out with billons of taxpayer dollars.
The exchange took place before the House Ways and Means Committee on March 3 — one week before Mr. Geithner claims he first learned that the failed insurance company was about to pay a round of bonuses that have since caused a political uproar.
A Treasury spokesman, Isaac Baker, said in a statement on Thursday night, “Although Congressman Crowley raised the issue of the bonuses two weeks ago, Secretary Geithner was not aware of the timing or full extent of the contractual retention payments or the other bonus programs until his staff brought them to his attention on March 10.”
Mr. Baker said that after Mr. Geithner had been briefed on the bonuses, he called Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G., and “insisted that they be renegotiated and restructured, in light of the extraordinary assistance being provided by taxpayers.”
Mr. Baker added that Mr. Geithner “takes full responsibility for not being aware of these programs before last week.” ...
Posted by Porkopolis at 3/20/2009 11:45:00 AM
"A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away." -Barry Goldwater
"The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." -Margaret Thatcher
"On two occasions I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." -Charles Babbage
"Better be alone than in bad company." -Thomas Fuller
"It is an equal failing to trust everybody and to trust nobody." -Thomas Fuller
"Wit is the cadence of an enlightened mind." -Porkopolis
"Being #1 is desirable, but #2 ain't shit." -Porkopolis
"Questions that have answers prepare us for questions yet to be answered." -Porkopolis' riff on the Socratic method
"A wealthy man knows when he's rich enough." -Porkopolis
"Politics is the compromise of principles by principals." -Porkopolis