Jennifer Haberkorn reports in the Washington Times:
The message in the Nov. 17, 2006, e-mail from Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executive, was unmistakable: Mr. Dodd was "next in line" to be chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the insurance industry, and he would "have the opportunity to set the committee's agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.
"Given his seniority in the Senate, he will also play a key role in the Democratic Majority's leadership," Mr. Cassano wrote in the message, obtained by The Washington Times.
Mr. Dodd ...Continue reading
Columnist George Will argues that the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 -- the bailout bill that set up TARP, is unconstitutional because it delegates legislative power to the executive branch:
Congress did not in any meaningful sense make a law. Rather, it made executive branch officials into legislators. Congress said to the executive branch, in effect: "Here is $700 billion. You say you will use some of it to buy up banks' 'troubled assets.' But if you prefer to do anything else with the money -- even, say, subsidize automobile companies -- well, whatever."
FreedomWorks, a Washington-based libertarian advocacy organization, argues that ...Continue reading
Bob Secter and Andrew Zajac of the Chicago Tribune report that, while researching what went at Freddie Mac during the period White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel served on the board of directors of Freddie Mac, they were unable to get minutes of board meetings and other information:
The Obama administration rejected a Tribune request under the Freedom of Information Act to review Freddie Mac board minutes and correspondence during Emanuel's time as a director. The documents, obtained by Falcon for his investigation, were "commercial information" exempt from disclosure, according to a lawyer for the Federal Housing Finance ...Continue reading
Glenn Reynolds asks whether employees in the financial industry, always a big donor to political campaigns, will contribute to other candidates or curtail their giving. He cites the AIG bonus flap, and Congress' reaction to it (including the outrage of members and the House passing a bill that would tax 90 percent of those bonuses away) as evidence of the fickleness of Congressional favor. Reynolds writes,
In light of this behavior, Wall Street--if it survives long enough--will likely conclude that subsidizing these pols was a bad idea.
If so, maybe it's time to shut off the funding. Politicians are ...Continue reading
Kevin Rennie notes another connection of Sen. Christopher Dodd to the financial industry, at one remove from AIG:
it turns out that Senator Dodd's wife has also benefited from past connections to AIG as well.Continue reading
From 2001-2004, Jackie Clegg Dodd served as an "outside" director of IPC Holdings, Ltd., a Bermuda-based company controlled by AIG.
Apparently, Geithner did it too. (Previous Dodd did it post here.) As this episode illustrates, there ought to be a better way of tracking whose fingerprints--those of members of Congress, administration officials, lobbyists--are on which parts of what bills.Continue reading
"As the public boils with anger over millions of dollars in retention bonuses for American Insurance Group employees, financial interests quietly continue to woo lawmakers with fundraising parties this month.
Actually, I think that members are still wooing the financial industry by offering dinners, breakfasts and events geared to their industry. While members may be publicly throwing AIG under the bus, in private they're only too happy to cozy up with contributors, offering preferred access and insights in exchange for campaign cash.
One of the first rules of following Washington: Watch what they do, not what they say.
National ...Continue reading
The report underscores a "worrying" trend toward protectionism as countries rush to shield their ailing domestic industries during the global economic crisis. It comes one day after Mexico vowed to slap new restrictions on 90 U.S. products. That action is being taken in retaliation against Washington for canceling a program that allowed Mexican truck drivers the right to transport goods across the United States, illustrating the tit-for-tat responses that ...Continue reading
So -- in the end, all compensation limits only applied to contracts written after February 11, at the specific request of Timothy Geithner, and AIG was able to pay out $286 million in bonuses on Sunday.
It's impossible to know how many of those bonuses would have been covered by Dodd's original language without examining the individual contracts. What is certain, however, is that the loophole regarding "retroactivity" which ...Continue reading