March 4th, 2009
02:41 PM ET
6 years ago

Congress wants AIG answers

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke slammed AIG in testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke slammed AIG in testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

(Fortune) - Lawmakers want to know who's pocketing the money taxpayers have spent to prop up AIG.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., on Wednesday demanded that Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke provide a full accounting of the firms that have received federal funds in their dealings with AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) since last fall's brush with bankruptcy.

The letter - which seeks to unmask the AIG trading partners that benefited from the billions of dollars the government has extended - comes a day after Bernanke expressed frustration with the firm, which has received more than $150 billion in federal help over the past six months.

"If there is a single episode in this entire 18 months that has made me more angry, I can't think of one other than AIG," Bernanke told the Senate Budget Committee Tuesday. "This was a hedge fund, basically, that was attached to a large and stable insurance company, made huge numbers of irresponsible bets - took huge losses. There was no regulatory oversight because there was a gap in the system."

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Filed under: Ben Bernanke • Congress • TARP
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Andi

    Well, the American people have been asking this same question for months. WAKE UP WASHINGTON.

    March 4, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Donna P.

    Why are people upset? Obama said he was going to "spread the wealth" during his campaign. That is exactly what he is doing. People who pay their bills on time, work 5 days a week, and take care of their children and other obligations will be paying for those who don’t. Get used to it or you will have a long 4 years.

    March 4, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. bob in LA

    NOW he's asking? Where was he when the money was lent? Have you ever seen loan documents?
    I can't borrow 1000.00 without 20 pages of requirements- surely billions should require more.

    March 4, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. ari from virginia

    AIG and what they are doing amouts to nothing but legalized extortion of the american people.

    They should be fully investigated and a special jail made and put them in it!!!

    What in the world would make you think I am angry?

    LIVID is a much better term.

    March 4, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. Baze

    They can't be mad, hell they're the ones that let this money slip through the cracks.

    March 4, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. alabama j

    where is the money we the american really want too know why not give the tax payers some bailout money then you will know where the money is

    March 4, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. alabama j

    you are all crooks give the american people the money

    March 4, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Melissa

    They want answers. After they gave the money away without any requirements attached to it. Free and clear. You know, it doesn't work that way. Next time, they need to be smarter.

    March 4, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. jb

    2 trillion gone, no accoutability. Now that is change and leadership we can count on. Let's make some more excuses for this debacle and continue on, shall we?

    March 4, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Calnat

    I have a solution to the economic problems that exist today in American, give the people the money to stimulate the economy. This economy will not change if the people do not get help, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that the economy and everything in it is based on consumer spending. Why give money to banks who already have money, to insurance companies who gambled big and lost big and to auto dealerships that will need another bailout soon because the people do not have money to buy, all of the giving the government is doing are temporary fixes and not solutions. The people drives this economy by buying, something none of us are not able to do right now. In order to eliminate irresponsible spending by the people, don't give us the money directly, send the checks in the name of the creditor and the people so that the people cannot just simply go to the bank and cash the check without taking care of their responsibilities, the check will go directly to the bank on behalf of the people and by doing this the banks just got stimulated, the people just paid off a debt and the government knows where the money just went-Did anyone in congress or the white house think of this plan yet!!! OUR ECONOMY WILL NOT RECOVER UNLESS THE PEOPLE RECOVER FINANCIALLY, something that is not happening yet and seems like will never happen—just my point of view!!!!!

    March 4, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Dale

    AIG insures the retirement funds for the Senate and Congress.

    AIG will always get special treatment and every penny they ask for.

    Any "investigation" will be superficial at best.

    March 4, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. Dave from PA

    Liberalism- "Definition" A Mental Disorder or someone that stands on their head and tells u that the world is upside down! U Idiots that voted for Obama we are seeing some Change and then some!! It's a shame how Big Government Crooks in Washington are ripping us all off Obama says he has a solution is doing nothing to stop this mess!

    March 4, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. Rob in Ark

    Demanded ? Now, that's funny ! How about all that deficit spending on your part there Rep. Maloney ? Hmmmm

    March 4, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  14. James

    Bernanke is full of baloney. He is mad at AIG for taking advantage of unregulated instruments (like CDS) because he didn't have the authority but if he had done his job with the banks that he can regulate, the banks would not have been able to buy them and AIG would not have had customers. He is more at fault because he should have been protecting our banking system. Also, remember he was part of the Fed board when they allowed banks to lower leverage requirements.

    March 4, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    censored again by CNN thank-you may I have another?

    March 4, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. Matthew, Detroit

    President Bush had it wrong.

    Barack has it wrong.

    Stop giving our money away.

    Stop spending.

    Let companies go bankrupt, the market will adjust.

    Let individuals go bankrupt, the market will adjust.

    March 4, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. G.R.

    I have two comments.

    First, don't we have enough Federal Agencies like the Department of Justice and the IRS to force these disclosures through audits and investigations, like RICO if necessary?

    Second, how many of the CEO and financial officers in these failed companies were Republicans or had ties to the Republican administration. I will bet anyone that it approaches at least 90%. To have the Wall Street weasels blaming President Obama for this mess is more than we should tolerate. Let's get some facts, we deserve it as the taxpayers who are funding the bailouts.

    March 4, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  18. Clark from Chicago

    Why should AIG or any other banking institution answer to Congress
    with anything other than a dog and pony show. We got what we deserve...pay for play...good job Barack.

    March 4, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. nina

    Do the math..if all of congress and the president take a 6 percent pay cut we would have a signifant amount of money to help these plans the president says is gonna work. If all americans over a certain braket is gonna be hit with higher taxes public servents should feel the sting too. Afterall they work for us why do they get to give each other pay raises.

    March 4, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  20. 4 and No More

    I'll say it again. C'mon, give this administration a break. The jump from Junior Senator to President of the United States of America is a big one and so the transition will not happen overnight. The government will get taken to the cleaners on a few deals but what the heck? Lets just take a moment here now and say," Hooray for us! We elected Obama!". Doesn't that feel better now?

    March 4, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  21. bill

    The AIG debacle is the result of the "free capitalism and deregulation" of the Bush administration.

    It gave crooks the right to steal honest people's money, and guess what? They are still not being punished or held accountable.

    March 4, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |