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. Tyler F.

    AIG has thumbed their noses at the taxpayers over and's time to let them go.

    March 16, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. robinp

    An automatic 7 year audit of all bailout exuctives taking bonuses should recoup the bonus money easily given this segment of tax payers and their pattern of making mistakes on their tax returns!

    March 16, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Libby

    You can't fix stupid. Flush em!

    March 16, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Mike k

    To all those who criticize Nancy Pelosi and her airplane(anon et al). When will you get it through your thick heads that a private plane for the Speaker of the House began with Hastert at the request of the Secret Service. Their rationale was that it was best for the third in line to the Presidency NOT fly commercial. The other point never mentioned is that Speaker Pelosi has said time and again she would not mind flying commercial, that it is not her call to make.

    March 16, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. al in memphis

    Hurry, someone please find Joe the Plumber and see what he thinks on this. Now would be a good time for him to tell us that not paying these bonuses to employee who bankrupt the company is socialism.

    March 16, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Zaley

    "It's our money, and we want it back NOW"!

    March 16, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. anthony s

    Barney Frank and company: I will solve the problem that no one in Washington wants to! $170 billion AIG dollars should be returned immediately to the people of the United States. Send checks out to every American Taxpayer; 18 years and older beginning 15 April 2009. If the economy is not moving and in positive territory within the next thirty days; come and take every investment; IRA; 401K and property I own. You can also publically "crucify me" if that will make "you" politicians happy. You have taken the American people (our) trust and confidence in the government system and abused each citizen. If I committed this action, giving away some else money and taking advantage of them; I would be arrested, well maybe! Is there anyone in Washington willing to take a stand for the people?

    March 16, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  8. Lindie

    I'd love to be on the AIG payroll.

    March 16, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Turner

    This is just ridiculous. People are starving, sick and homeless and our government lets this happen? This is criminal.

    March 16, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. Angie in PA


    March 16, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    @ TerryT, who said "Red Herring ALERT."

    Is that the new Limbaugh talking point whenever the Obama admin or Dem Congress starts doign something it should be doing? Claim that it's being done just to distract? I.e., claim that the Dems are using the GOP playbook? Cute.

    March 16, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. Emily

    AIG should be ashamed.

    March 16, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. pete

    The bonuses are last year's business, leave it alone 😉

    March 16, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Had It

    Sounds like there will be taxes to pay to NY State. All names and amounts are to be submitted TODAY.

    I hope all the names on that list ALSO get a FED AUDIT for years past and future.

    March 16, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Molly

    The millions and billions given away in bonuses to AIG executives could have fed and clothed many babies in America. AIG literally took much needed necessities out of the mouths of babes. SHAME ON THEM!

    March 16, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Mike in VA

    HAHAHA The Democrats are have in a hard time dealing with this mess they created.

    March 16, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Olivia

    AIG's executives are nothing but conniving Republicans.

    March 16, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    @ JJ12345, who said "And I guess Obama cant make a move without Pelosi's permission."

    Problem: when we claim Rush is the "leader" of the GOP and is pulling all the GOPers strings, it is BELIEVABLE. When you guys claim Pelosi is pulling Obama's strings, the only people who believe you are yourselves.

    March 16, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Mari

    @ Angie in PA.............. Great idea! Let's ALL of us sue AIG! What a bunch of crooks!


    March 16, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. walleye

    This is beyond outrage. These people should be pilloried and stoned with rotten tomatoes.

    March 16, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. CMS

    I just want to know what employee of AIG can take a bonus and sleep at night?! the economy is tanking people are losing their jobs and becoming homeless. Even if it was in my contract to get a bonus, I would refuse to take it!!

    March 16, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. Mari

    @ Kurt C........... you obviously do not get it! BUSH GAVE AIG BILLIONS. AIG gave our bonuses while crying that they were in danger of failing!

    How is this Obama's fault?

    March 16, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. Victoria

    The taxpayers of America were fooled and taken advantage of. We'll probably never recoup the loses.

    March 16, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. arithmetic is liberal

    If they can freeze the accounts of Al Qaeda, an international terrorist organization, then they can jolly well freeze the accounts of AIG's CEOs and principal shareholders, whose idea of reinvigorating the economy amount to exclusive spa treatments and giant bonuses. The CEOs should be called out for what he did, EMBEZZELING money from the American taxpayers.

    If AIG's CEO were mid-level mafioso, he would have already been taken to the woods and whacked by Tony Soprano!

    March 16, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. Peter (CA)

    Love how the right wingers want to make this about Obama when it is so plain to see that the economy is where it is because of companies like AIG, Citibank, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, etc.

    Oh, but the right wingers bleat on about Obama. Amazing. The only thing more amazing is that it took a comedian on TV to turn the spotlight in the right direction. The American media should be ashamed that they have ignored the corporate corruption and have been scooped by Jon Stewart.

    March 16, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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