In light of the news that American International Group -- better known as AIG -- is doling out those "distasteful" but nonetheless delicious bonuses to its execs, the House Financial Services Subcommittee is meeting at this very moment to discuss AIG and "how it got into its current situation, why it has received so much federal assistance, and how to move forward." CSPAN is broadcasting the hearing, during which Dallas's Rep. Jeb Hensarling -- noted critic of the September federal bailout that resulted in AIG ultimately receiving about $180 billion in TARP coverage -- moments ago referred to those behind the bonuses as "the crooked, the greedy and the foolish." (Album title alert.) And here's AIG chairman and CEO Edward Liddy's testimony that will be offered to the subcommittee during the afternoon session.
Update: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee just sent a response to Hensarling's outrage in which the DCCC insists "Americans' outrage over AIG and Congressional Republicans' reaction to it doesn't match the reality of what Representative Jeb Hensarling and Republican leaders have done in Washington to block limits on outrageous pay and bonuses." The full release, complete with attached links, follows.
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Jeb Hensarling Could Have Stopped AIG Bonuses
Americans' outrage over AIG and Congressional Republicans' reaction to it doesn't match the reality of what Representative Jeb Hensarling and Republican leaders have done in Washington to block limits on outrageous pay and bonuses.
"For years Representative Jeb Hensarling and former President Bush led the charge to block any effort to limit the outrageous salaries and bonuses of corporate executives," said Jennifer Crider, Communications Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Outrageous bonuses like those for AIG executives could have been stopped long ago had Representative Jeb Hensarling done the right thing and worked with Democrats to put middle class Americans first.
"It's easy for Republicans to play to angry Americans and say they're offended by bonuses during a firestorm, but the reality is that Representative Jeb Hensarling's offense rings hollow after years of being part of the problem that led to outrageous executive pay and bonuses."
Republicans unanimously opposed eliminating all future golden parachutes for TARP senior executives, stopping incentives for top executives to take unnecessary risks, and cracking down on future bonuses, retention awards, and incentive compensation for all TARP executives.
Despite Republicans' obstructionism, President Obama's economic recovery act was signed into law last month.
Republicans opposed: Providing annual, clear disclosure of executive compensation and a sense of the views of stockholders regarding the company's compensation plans. Requiring shareholders of all publicly traded companies vote to express their views on executive compensation plans. Requiring a vote for shareholders to express their views before a company can award a severance package while simultaneously negotiating the purchase or sale of the company.
House Republicans, led by Congressman Price of Georgia, offered an amendment that would strike the entire shareholder vote bill and replace it with 2006 rules that said investor protections, including placing limits on executive compensation and bonuses, were sufficient
and Congress didn't need to increase them.
Substitute Amendment to HR 1257, the Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act (2007).