March 16th, 2009
04:05 PM ET
6 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. Lee, Landing NJ

    Tax the filthy money-gribbing taxpayer- thieving scumbags at 99%.

    Also add a surtax on anyone who enaabled Bush-Cheney the last 8 years so that we can offset part of our losses. They put us behind for generations with their RUIN in every phase of our lives.

    What is funny is that just a few weeks ago republicans were whining over how much money auto workers in Detriot made.

    However they feel that fat cat bonuses subsidized by federal money are sacrosanct, that inherited trust funds are sacrosanct, and that the filthy rich should be allowed to steal everything that isn't nailed down and their taxes lowered and then just maybe all their concentrated wealth would "trickle down" to unemployed "joe the plumbers".

    March 16, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. Sharon Holt

    President Obama is doing at great jobs, but I would like to know why the median didn't check on Bush like they are doing Pres. Obama, maybe we would not be in this mess!!!!!!

    March 16, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. The Real Issue

    The Real Issue.....do not loan anymore money. Send some investigators to work and scrutinize every dollar that was given and retrieve whatever was not appropriated properly. It's worth paying a small team to do just that!!!

    March 16, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Roxie

    Kurt C. sounds like one of AIGs board members. He must be if he knows that the "1.4 trillion dollars" that he mentioned was wasted.

    The only thing that is more lame than the outright crook is the knee jerk conservative who wants to do nothing while the right-wing robber barons continue robbing the US Treasury.

    March 16, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    There must be some clause in corporate responsibility which will show this behavior to be gross negligence in living up to their fiduciary duties.
    If not, it needs to be so written. They cannot give away what is not theirs to give, and do not have to give.

    THIS IS AN OUTRAGE

    March 16, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. James L.

    1 bit of advice.................................How about waiting until the next time (it will come again soon) they need $ then simple request that they retrieve the bounes they paid out in 3.09? Or better let the darn company go under.

    March 16, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    What a "smoke screen" this is!!!!!!!!! Wasn't Barney and the boys watching over all this.

    To quote the Dems "it's less than a 1/2% of the package" !!!!!!!!!! So what's the big deal?

    What does "Queen Nancy" spend yearly on "her" planes ??

    March 16, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Kim

    Where's my bonus?

    March 16, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. kevin

    they should have let aig go bankrupt

    March 16, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Lance

    Now is all makes sense.. ..AIG employs mostly Republicans.

    March 16, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Serious Haters.

    I am so disgusted by AIG. Make them pay back the bailout money right now, if they can not make file for bankruptcy. how disgraceful.

    March 16, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. Sylvia

    These hearings are ridiculous. They do not accomplish anything. These crooks are called before Congress, interrogated and after the hearing they go along their merry way and do the same thing over and over. They should be fired!

    March 16, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. al in memphis

    I'm going home early tonight to check to see if Hannity and O' really will have as much to do on this as they had blashing Obama during the campaign. Something tells me that will be a 15 second report. Then I can swich back to CNN.

    Thank you CNN for some valid reporting. An idiot could tell that AIG owed alot of money to foreign banks based on risky investment that were about as sound as a Detriot Lions in the super bowl bet with Vegas.

    March 16, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. Shelby

    I'm submitting my resume to AIG immediately...I'd love to be on their payroll!

    March 16, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. MichaelB

    What authority does Congress have? Well, they can take the money back for starters. It isn't that hard to figure out!

    Where's my bailout?

    March 16, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. kshama

    The American people deserve what they get. Remember, it means something to have experience in the world these days. President Obama cannot be expected to solve such an economic crisis overnight. But one thing is for sure. The Obama administration cannot say that they have had "transparency," good "judgment", "coherence" in their plan. Ask any one. Can it be that the media and the public are finally starting to wake up to a person with so much charisma but no details in one of the most important crisis these days. Stop the blame game and the excuses. What is the Obama administration's plans and what are the details exactly.?Does America actually know and understand? Even Warren Buffet and Jack Welch have been critical of the President. I guess they must be racists and should not be taken seriously because they are wealthy.

    March 16, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. JJ12345

    Staunch Democrat March 16th, 2009 4:41 pm ET

    The reasons why the Republicans are soo quiet in expressing their outrage is because THEY ARE IN CONFERENCE WITH RUSH LIMBAUGH TO DETERMINE THEIR NEXT RESPONSE….YOU KNOW THE GOP CAN'T MAKE A MOVE UNLESS RUSH BLESSES IT.
    ____________________________________________________
    And I guess Obama cant make a move without Pelosi's permission.

    March 16, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Haley

    AIG CEO Edward Liddy is a stead-fast Republican....enough said.

    March 16, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Jeff

    Notice how the Republicans aren't screaming....AIG employs mostly Republicans. Now do you get it?

    March 16, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Willy Brown

    Why hasn't the media dug into this crook Barney Franks? Pretend he's a republican media.

    March 16, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. MARK

    Next week they're all going on a much deserved vacation in Hawaii. Of course, all expenses paid.

    March 16, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. GeorgiaE

    How does Rush feel about this? I'm sure the American taxpayers would love to hear a little outrage from the Republican Party. Check with Rush and get back to us ASAP!

    March 16, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Casey | Sebastopol, CA

    I say list the name and location of every single person in that AIG group receiving a bonus (or whatever clever name they use to disguise it) with the total they are receiving.

    It's much harder to enjoy your ill-gotten gains when you are anonymous.

    March 16, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Nate

    These people just robbed the taxpayers. When will one ever be prosecuted? Valuable lesson: Crime DOES pay.

    March 16, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. KATHLEEN

    Not only did AIG waste the taxpayers money on bonuses, they
    sent the rest OVERSEAS. Say, Bill Nelson, congressman from
    Florida. I heard this today on C-Span.

    The rest of the money is "gone" overseas. Gone already.

    CNN you should be reporting this, "Breaking News".!!!!

    March 16, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
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