March 18th, 2009
10:01 AM ET
5 years ago

AIG's Liddy: 'I share that anger'

Edward Liddy, chief executive of bailed out insurer American International Group, will tell Congress Wednesday that he found the company's controversial bonuses 'distasteful,' but necessary because of legal obligations and competition.
Edward Liddy, chief executive of bailed out insurer American International Group, will tell Congress Wednesday that he found the company's controversial bonuses 'distasteful,' but necessary because of legal obligations and competition.

WASHINGTON ( – Edward Liddy, chief executive of bailed out insurer American International Group, will tell Congress Wednesday that he found the company's controversial bonuses "distasteful," but necessary because of legal obligations and competition, according to a written copy of his testimony.

"We have to continue managing our business as a business - taking account of the cold realities of competition," Liddy will tell the House Financial Services subcommittee. The hearing is set to begin at 10 a.m.

"Because of this, and because of certain legal obligations, AIG has recently made a set of compensation payments, some of which I find distasteful," he added.

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Filed under: AIG
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Karen

    Let's get rid of congress too. Remember all of this AIG mess and all the others next election.
    NEVER vote for an incumbent!

    March 18, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. LuckyLeoNJ

    montag March 18th, 2009 10:42 am ET

    And you can be sure they'll get to keep their bonuses and they'll pay no taxes on them, either.

    Watch and see. The dems will make sure this does not happen.

    March 18, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. Texas Annie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    So Liddy found the bonuses "distasteful, but necessary because of legal obligations and competition"??? Bullfeathers. At the very LEAST, they could have gone to those people and renegotiated those bonus "obligations" down to probably half of what they ended up paying them. I still think $80 million in bonuses would have been wrong under the circumstances, but hey, it would have saved AIG and the TAXPAYERS $80 million. And it would have shown AIG was at least trying to reduce the amounts.
    But my BIG burning question is– weren't the bonuses for the Financial Services people predicated on "performance" & "results" (like most company's bonuses)?? If so, then those folks should have gotten ZERO (maybe they should have gotten a you-owe-me slip) since their division is the one that lost the billions of dollars that started the whole AIG mess.

    March 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Sniffit

    I don't care how unconstitutonal it is. Our Constitution has been stepped all over for the last 8 years. It can get stepped on here to get our money back. Confiscation, repossesion, jack move. Call it what you want. That money is ours. And I am aware they can't tax them 100%. But they can tax them up to 90%. My solution is simple.


    March 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Mine is the loneliest voice in America, but I am going to say

    We need more reporting on OVERSIGHT for ALL the monies that have been lent since and including the bank bailout. WHO IS MINDING THE STORE? I feel that we are going to see a huge amount of fraud and theft with thousands of people overseeing all these billions.

    Anderson Cooper had a tiny piece on his show tonight March 17 about oversight, and it told me NOTHING!

    Why don't we put the monies for Katrina rebuilding into private hands and have the government audit them? Or how about using the thousands of out-of-work and eager young people with management and accounting degrees go throughout the country and AUDIT these projects, state by state?

    Finally, if the banks don't LOAN the monies, why not take the MONIES AWAY from them after a date certain? Were there no stipulations about this????

    March 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. a stupid republican

    those republicans are talking as it is obama 's fault. remember the bush administration gave them money to aig, so John Mccain jumped on it and voted for it. those pinhead republicans voted for it. obama voted for it. however, do not blame Obama.

    March 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |


    AIG were huge contributors to Obama's campaign. So what does this have to do with Republicans?

    March 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Mississippi Mike

    First of all, why are we bailing out private businesses that will probably never be able to turn a profit again? Second, shouldn't we be encouraging failing businesses to keep their highest performers? Finally, why aren't these "outraged" politicians furious over the roughly $60 billion AIG has paid to foreign banks?

    The way I see it, if we are going to waste taxpayer money, it should go to Americans who have actually been working.

    March 18, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Odd, isn't it, how that clause got written into the bailout protecting those bonuses and no one remembers who put it there? And no one knows how its presence was overlooked long enough for it to get included in the final law.

    Those two events sure aren't just chance. The first one just about certainly implies that at least one politician was bought and paid for; the second that a lot of politicians were bought and paid for.

    Thieves and liars, the lot of them!

    March 18, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. Shadysider

    Sure the bonuses are bogus, but government should have dealt with this in the wording of the bailout for AIG.

    March 18, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. dumbocrat alert

    The two biggest recipients of campaign funds from AIG-–Chris Dodd and Barry Obama. Why does this not surpise me. LOL for the next 4 years.

    March 18, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. George, Greenville

    Dutch/Bad Newz

    What if the government decides you should not have received certain pay and taxes it 100% to take it from you? How would you like that? Such an action by the government should never survive legal scrutiny. Let's face it. Politicians are liars. They say they just learned of these bonuses. Yet, CNN ran a story on TV about 2 months ago about large AIG bonuses. How did they learn about the bonuses when the President and Congress? The answer – INCOMPETENCE!

    March 18, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  13. Sniffit

    @ Dutch, who said "Our Constitution has been stepped all over for the last 8 years. "

    I see. So expedience does justify everything, just like Bush taught us? Let's just throw the Constitution out while we're at it. I mean, why even bother having laws or a formal government at all then? We'll just all live in a state of complete anarchy and China or Russia, or maybe even Mexico, can move in and take over while we're all scratching each other's eyes out and fighting over the last LCD TV left in the country.

    March 18, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. ran

    These guys are the "best and brightest" in sticking it to everyone: AIG/shareholders/American tax payer. AIG needs to be nationalize and evey person who took a bonus fired along with every top exc. there. Enough is enough.

    March 18, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. Edward

    Why is everyone making a big huff about this now? This was well documented when AIG took the stimulus money, as they divulged the contractual obligations that they were under. Could it be through the democrats' inept bungling when laying out the rules for the money that this slipped by unnoticed at the time? Are the democrats backpeddling for political expediency? Hmmmm.... could be!

    March 18, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. matt

    To Spirit of America: really??? Treason? Arrest? Move to a communist country you freak. You liberals are so ridiculous. You have a problem with $165MILLION dollars but don't have a problem with the BILLIONS of pork Obama signed last minute you're cool with obama's huge spending bill and the next minute you're screaming treason over $ what do you want to arrest obama for????

    March 18, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  17. Nathan,

    I bet he also shares the bonuses.

    March 18, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Houff

    This is precisely why government should never have been involved in these kinds of bailouts. The taxpayers (and their children and grandchildren) lose, and business outsmarts government every time. Most of these people are in government BECAUSE they could not succeed in the private sector (or they are on the take while "serving" in government). Sen. Dodd allowed language in the bailout bill that EXPRESSLY allowed these bonuses to be paid. That is, Congress was AWARE of these bonuses and put explicit language in the bill to allow them to be paid. And, of course, no one actually read the bill, including the president.

    When is government going to learn to keep its hands off of business? Let businesses succeed or fail, loosen regulation so that fewer jobs are sent overseas, and keep taxes reasonable, because corporations do not ever pay taxes– their customers do.

    March 18, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. Shooky

    This fake outrage by congress and the president is such a joke. Congress has been aware of the compensation structure for months. The guy running AIG was appointed by congress in September as part of the bailout. Chris Dodd wrote an amendment into the bill that protected the very bonuses that congress and Obama are acting so upset about! Now, I know for a fact many people in congress did not know about Dodd's amendment because the bill was drafted and rushed through by Democrats so fast that no mortal human could have possibly read the whole thing. I still haven't seen any indication that the politicians that received campaign contributions from AIG are planning on giving them back. The top 3 in order who are Dodd, Obama (both received over $100,000) and RINO McCain ($50,000).

    For these liars to act outraged over a bonus system they were fully aware of, designed legislation, and voted to protect is ridiculous. They are just playing politics by putting on their mad faces in am attempt to fool the knuckle draggers that are too lazy or dumb to know any better.

    March 18, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. Roy Arellano (San Antonio)

    Hey matt you fool, Pres. Obama is only carrying out what was inacted into Law by your pres...Bush. Where were you when your pres was signing it into law?

    How's that for being fooled smart guy....?

    March 18, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. susan s

    Alot of lip service going on. Elected officials dropped the ball and now they are trying to cover their butts.

    March 18, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. LuckyLeoNJ

    Steve March 18th, 2009 10:51 am ET

    Chris Dodd doesn't share that anger. Dodd wrote the provision that specifically allowed AIG to pay these bonuses. Dodd screwed up Fanny and Freddie now he screwed this up. Its time CT screwed Chris Dodd.

    Steve –
    Make sure that you understand the context. You say Dodd wrote the provision that allowed the bonuses to be paid. Although that may be true, the provision did not say, "AIG executives are entitled to any bonus of any amount even after the American taxpayer was forced to prop them up after gambling and losing." The provision was intended to preserve the integrity of existing contractual agreements. Can you imagine how companies that do business with AIG would react if their contracts were not secure? One thing is for certain, Dodd did not add this provision so AIG execs could line their pockets with taxpayer money. Period. It is an unfortunate unintended consequence of the provision made evident by how aggressively Dodd and other dems and repubs are fighting to recoup these bonuses.

    March 18, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. BarryO

    Hey, Dutch/BadNewz – the US Government already owns 80% of AIG. So, AIG is already nationalized in effect.

    Excuse me for not loving the fact that CONGRESS – the group that includes Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and the other idiots who screwed the economy in the first place – is the majority shareholder in the largest US insurer...and is now essentially the largest US insurer.

    March 18, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. Roy

    Where i work, they won't give some benefits unless you agree to stay at the company in the future. How could AIG NOT have this clause when the reason they were giving these bonuses in the first place was to 'retain talent'?!?!?!?!?!
    THIS is the company we have deemed 'so important and worldwide' that we have to rescue it at any cost?

    March 18, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. RealityKing

    See how stupid you look when you sign something without reading it!

    March 18, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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