March 18th, 2009
02:54 PM ET
13 years ago

Cafferty: Washington to blame for AIG bonus scandal?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Join the conversation on Jack's blog."]
As outrage over AIG bonuses reaches a fever pitch, many are now wondering why our leaders in Washington didn’t do more to prevent the situation in the first place. The Obama administration says that it didn’t know until a couple of weeks ago that AIG executives were set to receive $165 million in bonuses.

They say that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner found out last Tuesday; and the president learned of all this on Thursday, just a day before the controversial retention payments went through. But Geithner was running the New York Federal Reserve Bank last fall when AIG got a high-interest loan of 85 billion dollars to help prevent collapse — along with its first installment of federal bailout money.

And none of these folks must watch CNN because in late January, Mary Snow did a story on this very program about the insurance giant paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to its financial products unit.

To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here.

Filed under: Cafferty File
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. pete

    There is nothing more disgusting then when Congress gets caught letting things like this go through. Bailouts are stupid in all aspects of this. Noboby should have gotten a bailout. Washington=corruption.

    March 18, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. eric in texas

    Flex March 18th, 2009 4:07 pm ET

    $165,000,000=9.7% of $170,000,000,000

    Is this legal?

    AIG did not receive the full 170 billion. About 93 billion went to Goldman Sachs and EUROPEAN BANKS. That is one of the things that angers me the most. You fuss about the money they are giving out but OUR government gave the banks in EUROPE a huge junk of change as well. But where is the reporting on this? The outrage in DC?

    March 18, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Jim Price

    I'm just waiting for President Obama to say "Geitie, you're doing a heck of a job."
    Jim, Lauderdale by the Sea

    March 18, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Mississippi Mike

    Washington is to blame for the crumbling of the industry, the pathetic bailout attempts and all of the mess in between. The CRA, initiated under Carter, laid the groundwork for radical groups to demand that banks make loans to unqualified borrowers. Having Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy the loans from banks made them look like good investments. Bailing out banks and deadbeat borrowers prolongs the crisis. All of the theatre surrounding the bonuses blows the top off of the whole stinking mess.

    Washington, specifically congressional Democrats, are to blame for this mess so it's ironic that they are the ones crying the loudest about the fallout.

    March 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. pete

    also, i am sad to say that Wolf should have also said when Bush got contributions from AIG, he should have also mentioned Obama and Dodd.

    March 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Matt

    Hey Jack why won't CNN do a story about the 65 Billion that went to Foreign Banks?

    March 18, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Tony

    Typical ignorant politicians. Always scampering like rats to try and fix something after the fact.

    So much for transparency and getting all the facts BEFORE they gave out billions in taxpayer's money.


    March 18, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Glennis

    Heck yes, the idiots in Washington are to blame. They knew about it. If they didn't they're just too dumb to breathe. I suggest they toss in their inflated salaries to cover the costs.

    March 18, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Capt. Snarky

    Who were the politicians who score the most campaign funds from AIG last year?

    #1 – senator Dodd- the man who authored the "escape clause"
    #2 – Barrack Obama – who signed the legislation

    but who's pointing fingers.............

    March 18, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Paul from Phoenix


    Geitner negotiated the TARP bill. Congress wrote it. Chris Dodd inserted the language exempting bonuses from before 2/11/09. Obama and McCain voted for it. Bush signed it. Obama and Geitner forgot to oversee it.

    Whom else do we blame?

    March 18, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. John J

    We Should not have bailed these guys out in the first place.
    AIG should've just went bankrupt.
    Congress and The People need to look past AIG and look at the criminals in the Federal Reserve(which is not federal) who orcestrated this bailout and dragged us into this poo. Maybe We should just abolish the Federal Reserve Act put in place by President Wilson

    March 18, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    There is plenty of blame to go around. Greedy people working for AIG. AIG leaders who didn't know what was going on and signed foolish contracts that rewarded failure,

    The Feds didn't supervise, didn't share what little information they had with Congress. The first TARP in 2008 was done too fast and with too much trust in the ethics & morality of those 'too big to fail" No one seemed to learn from past mistakes.

    The question is now " what's the solution?" No easy answers! But I have very little confidence that those who created the mess are the only ones who can fix it!

    March 18, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. James

    "March 18th, 2009 4:07 pm ET

    $165,000,000=9.7% of $170,000,000,000

    Is this legal?"

    Maybe since it is 0.97% not 9.7%. Almost 1%.

    March 18, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Fed Up

    Barney Frank calls the AIG bonuses a "reward for incompetence." That's what congressional salaries are. Maybe Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, VP Biden and Obama himself should return the campaign contributions they received from AIG rather than just flap their lips about their "outrage." Just the same old two-faced politics in DC. Obama has not , cannot, and will not change anything.

    March 18, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Lauren

    The Death of America by Obama March 18th, 2009 4:37 pm ET

    Now the above comment really shows hwo smart some people really are. Ok Sir,,,, what do you suppose we impeach him on,,, being stupid?

    I would expect this sort of dumb comment from soneone bashing Bush or Palin,,,, not someone bashing Obama.

    March 18, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. rena

    We the people need to realize that we are being TAKEN by our government. All of this is a bunch of hog wash. I believe they knew all along what was going on and just played the fiddler with us. They are just playing the game until they here from us no more, they will then resume to the same old crapy business of stealing from hard working citizens.

    I say tax only the Wasington thugs, wall street, sports industry, hollywood, and the church, they are the ones who have gotten over with not paying taxes. That's the majority of wealthy people. I bet they will have a change of mindset. Then they will say we need an even playing field; something we have been saying all along. Let them see how it feel to pay everything, while we enjoy the fruit of our labor. I am sick of the crooked politicans in Washington. Yes, even our President has some unfavorable views in my eyesight as well. He is not as truthful neither. I can't stand liars.

    March 18, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. dmg

    I could care less about the campaign money they got, that's no big deal. I just wish these Dem's and Rep's could just for once find a way to come together and do Something!! Anything!! that may get us back on the right track. And STOP!! pointing the finger at each other. Someone's going to get their eye poked out!!!!!.

    March 18, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Pat F

    Crummy reporting, Jack, as well as crummy government. The media didn't read the stimulus bill any more than Congress did. And now no one knows who put the Get Out of Jail Free card in there.

    March 18, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. Jim in Minnesota

    The buck stops at the doorstep of each member of the house and Senate. These bloviating hacks had better stop telling others to "off themselves", lest they are caught for not doing their job. We sent them there to think and consider legislation. They think only of being re-elected and rarely about the needs of this wonderful country.

    March 18, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. karin bryant

    I have no idea why Mr.Liddy has taken on this thankless job only to be chewed out by people such as B.Franks who never has done anything worth mentioning.

    March 18, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Lotta Muni

    Such a shameless shell game.

    March 18, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. DJ in Florida

    The comments are overwhelmingly in opposition of the bailouts. Neither Administration is listening to the people. The actually believe WE are the ignorant ones. The complexity of the failure doesn't cloud the underlying foundation of the failure... Bailing out failure only rewards further failure. WE MUST STOP OUR GOVERNMENT... Give your representative an ultimatum to either stop or lose his/her next election. We must ban together and STOP them... Don't let the Democrat and Republican machines divide us any longer. We The People...

    March 18, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. TerryT

    What does it mean if it is shown with little doubt, that the white house isn't telling the truth and did know before last week about these bailouts.

    What if they were active in allowing them to go forward.

    Will Americans start to question other things he says finally.

    (still think this is a manufactured crisis the the white house get out of hand)

    March 18, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. dan

    hey gerry, get your facts straight. the first AIG bailout did not come from the treasury. It came from the New York federal reserve bank which Geithner was running at the time.

    Like you say: hilarious

    March 18, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Truth Bomb Thrower

    WOW! FOR ONCE JACK CAFFERTY IS ACTUALLY RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING! I've been saying all along, if the American people want to be mad at someone, they should be mad at the corrupt, incompetent politicians that VOTED FOR THE BAIL-OUTS TO BEGIN WITH!

    If I was an AIG executive, I would be doing the exact same thing! I would take the money too. Those people aren't stupid. If someone is going to offer them free money with no conditions, OF COURSE THEY'RE GOING TO TAKE IT! These corporate bail-outs amount to subsidization of greed and incompetent corporate management, and what you subsidize (guess what!), YOU GET MORE OF! DUH!

    What is really hilarious is how Obama and Congress is PRETENDING to be taken off-guard by the bonuses, when they have known FOR MONTHS that they would be paid out. They are simply trying to shift the blame from themselves to AIG (the evil capitalists). This whole "too-big-to-fail" nonsense is just an excuse for politicians to protect their corporate contributors. Badly run companies DESERVE TO FAIL and SHOULD fail. WALL STREET GREED IS NOT THE PROBELM. GOVERNMENTAL CORRUPTION AND STUPIDITY IS!!!

    March 18, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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