March 16th, 2009
04:05 PM ET
9 years ago

Congress looking for ways to recoup AIG bonuses

The House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Barney Frank, is taking a look at the bonuses being paid to AIG employees.

The House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Barney Frank, is taking a look at the bonuses being paid to AIG employees.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Outraged House Democrats are scrambling to figure out what, if anything, they can do to recoup the $165 million in bonuses AIG awarded to employees after the company received $170 billion in federal bailout funds.

A House Democratic leadership aide and a House financial services committee aide said Congress is trying to shame AIG executives and employees into forgoing the bonuses while investigating possible legal avenues that can be used to force AIG to return the money used for bonuses.

The House financial services committee is trying to determine if Congress can force AIG to renegotiate the bonuses the company says it is legally required to give employees as dictated by contracts negotiated before it received its first infusion of bailout dollars in September, according to the committee aide.

Both aides said it is unclear what authority Congress has to force AIG to take back the bonuses. Complicating the issue is the fact that the first infusion of cash to AIG was authorized by the Federal Reserve before Congress passed the $700 billion Trouble Asset Relief Program, which included some restrictions on executive pay.

AIG CEO Edward Liddy will face intense questioning about the bonuses when he testifies Wednesday before the House Financial Services subcommittee on capital markets.

Filed under: AIG • Congress
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. MN Observer

    There are dozens of questions that AIG needs to answer to and the Treasury, the State of NY and anyone else that can MUST get the answers and hold these people accountable. How Dare they behave as if nothing is wrong.

    I notice that the Republicans are quiet so far in expressing outrage. Why is that???!!!

    March 16, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. TerryT

    Red Herring ALERT.

    March 16, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. jeff

    will the republican sodamizing ever end????

    March 16, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. The Truth

    This is a lot more than just greed,all of the people involved with the collapse,should be called by there true names!!
    "Economic Terrorist " that is what they truly are,to turn your country into a crap hole,is the work of a terrorist, all involved should be branded and treated as such.
    They have caused sucides,murders,and millions of shattered family's,and dreams.
    Al-Quaida could only dream of causing such destruction and mayhem
    in this country.
    Follow the money through,family and friends and will find all the terrorist involved.
    Bring them all to justice + get all the bonuse's back.

    March 16, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Charlene

    I say we boycot these people and all that they stand for,, people are homeless and going hungry,,and I bet these CEO'S cross the street when they see a homeless family or person, If all Americans stand together we can beat them down,,,,,

    March 16, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. This is Called Accountability

    We, the public, don't want an EXCUSE as to why the money can't be recovered.

    Either RECOVER it ..... or FIRE them. It's that simple.

    March 16, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. Jorge Villa

    keep poring money into these big companys. They own america...but Greede will destroy it. Just like all them politicians.

    March 16, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Majik

    If you believe that they are really going to try to stop the bonuses I have a bridge for sale.

    March 16, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. James France

    There isn't any regulation that says bankers are forbidden to take a bonus. If people earned them by contract, they have to be paid. Or the bank or in this case AIG will be hit with breach of contract lawsuits. Instead of making a lot of noise, Congress or whoever should belly up to the bar and regulate these folks. Just as an aside, the retirement pension fund for Congress is held by AIG. My, my, my..........

    March 16, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Takeover

    The gov. already owns 80% of AIG. The government should take it over and fire those executives' sorry butts.

    Then when the co. is back on its feet the gov. can sell it to a responsible company and make a profit for us taxpayers. In other words, use the model that has been proven to work in Sweden.

    The private sector has proven it is too greedy and corrupt to work. Screw them.

    March 16, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Dittohead

    AIG performance is similar to Washington DC's. where is the outrage on their pay, perks, pensions, healthcare? we are rewarding bad behavior.

    March 16, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. mtv

    As much hell as the Republicans raise blocking Obama at every turn...........Why aren't they raising hell about this, especially since obama is trying to help recoup the money........Repubs area a Joke

    March 16, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. A tired American

    Hey, if Obama's administration can't figure out how to recoup the $165M they could always ask someone from Bush's gang of thugs. I'm sure Cheney or Rove or someone knows a trick or two.
    If they don't want to do that, I'd just remind AIG CEO Liddy and the board that if they want to do business in the USA they had better cough up the money.

    March 16, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. steve o, barstow,ca

    If we the people own AIG, then they have two choices. 1. Collect unemployment. 2. live on federal minumum wage.
    That is what our President shall give those swindlers every last one of them. Their are millions of Americans out of work and they should send their resumes to the government for all those openings at AIG.
    They should have the US Marshall Service go over there and give them 15 minutes to clear out of the building.

    March 16, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Mel

    Honestly, screw the bonus', just take back the money they were already given by the government. Its still the governments money, no matter what.

    March 16, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. A little sad

    I really don't want these bounses to be paid. However, if they were part of an employment contract, I don't see a way around it.

    I received a (MUCH SMALLER) "retention bonus" for going to work for an insurance company in rehabilitation. It was money promised to the employees to remain in their positions until either the company came out of rehabilitation or if their positions were no longer required. These bonuses were for everyone from the acting CEO down to the file clerks.

    The bonuses were never intended to be based on "performance", this was part of our compensation package and was incentive for good people to stay in what was a professionally precarious position – return for risk taken.

    Any of us could have taken jobs with more security, but we chose to stay until the end (this insurance company is now dissolved)

    Much as I would love to see some of the higher level people at AIG turn down part or all of their "bonus", if the bonus are not performance based, but instead an incentive to remain in their position instead of abandoning ship, I don't see how the bonus would not be considered earned if they fulfilled their commitments.

    Of course, the guy earning $6.5 million could look like a hero by turning it down.....

    March 16, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. mary,florida

    Its time for AIG to go on their own.To take money from people(taxpayers)who can barely feed themselves and give bonuses to those with jobs and the one responsible should be a crime.Robbery

    March 16, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. Gerald

    Stock was up 66% today , this tells me the average American is being played like the coward fools we are. Impeach BHO now

    March 16, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Dwb

    Isn't just as simple as
    "you're fired" to these execs?

    No company that doesn't earn a profit deserves executive bonuses.

    Plenty of talent waiting for their shot!!

    March 16, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Sam Sixpack

    This is so cute! Grind up a few fall guys and we forget about the rest of the 1.5 trillion dollars our "leaders" stole from our children.

    March 16, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Gerald

    By the way it was the Democrat lead congress that gave all the money away you cowards , this is Obama's failure

    March 16, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. BK

    Maybe if the Republicans hadn't insisted on such a 'no strings attached' approach to this money, we wouldn't be having this problem!

    March 16, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. Kurt C.

    So, Obama is going to try and legally deny something that was in the contract before he started handing money out left and right?

    That's a great idea Obama, let's drag all this into court and cost the taxpayer even more money.

    Don't you know it's hypocritical to complain about someone wasting millions of dollars when you just wasted 1.4 trillion dollars? Impeachment time is here.

    March 16, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Joanna


    March 16, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Stream Of Consciousness

    Will public hangings do the trick??

    March 16, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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