March 18th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
13 years ago

Lawmakers defend role amid AIG bonus backlash

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Rep. Barney Frank said bonuses should not go to people who are "incompetent.""]

(CNN) - As outrage over American International Group bonuses spreads and finger-pointing continues, lawmakers are trying to convince the public that it isn't their fault.

Senators and representatives are vowing to get the bonus money back, but questions have risen why didn't Congress act to prevent the bonuses in the first place?

"Well, the only lever we have in this is the fact that these corporations have come to the Congress of the United States and want a taxpayers' bailout," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Wednesday on CNN's "American Morning."

"If it weren't for that, we would not have any leverage on how any individual corporation is being run, and we don't pretend to have any leverage on any corporation today in the United States that's not seeking federal help," said Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

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Filed under: AIG • Barney Frank • Charles Grassley
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. yuri

    The battle is ragin' but apparently, the casualties of these callous condut and comport will tend to be the common citizens.

    March 18, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Matthew, Detroit

    Barney Frank needs to take the blame for the entire economic collapse of the country.

    He and Chris Dodd failed america miserably.

    March 18, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. kaz

    I can't even look at Barney Frank. He is so deep in this. We go bakc to Frannie and Freddie. I hope that someone puts the pieces together and this guy goes to jail where he belongs. Him and Dodd can be cell mates.

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

    AIG needs to answer to the public why after -1 trillion dollars of profit, they did not do what is right for the country. The public cant answer it and Congress cant answer it for them. Can the dead still ask for a paycheck? Only in America.

    March 18, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Amoriah P

    Why is Capital Hill so fervently and expeditiously airing their indignation toward AIG for the miniscule millions of dollars paid in the bonus contracts?

    Why? It is a ploy, to distract the american people, the owners of AIG, from demanding answers to the true criminal act perpetrated on the tax payers. Where is the anger and when do we get a hearing on the payments to foriegn banks to the tune of BILLIONS AND BILLION AND BILLIONS of dollars?

    March 18, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Jimbo

    Of couse tehy do. They screwed the pooch and America is just finding out about it.

    March 18, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. J.P.

    Lawmakers' role? Hmm... let's see.

    1977 – Community Reinvestment Act pushed through Congress and signed into law by Jimmy Carter.

    1995-96 – "Teeth" added to the CRA law by William Jefferson Clinton, at the request of the housing subcommittees of congress. Republican congressmen lose their cajones and bow to subcommittee Dems out of fear of being labeled "racist" for actually believing that one should qualify for a traditional loan in order to purchase a house, instead of using economic yoga to qualify for "food stamp mortgages."

    1995-2008 – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac give a wink-wink-nod-nod and buy up gahzillions worth of food-stamp mortgages. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are creations of the Congress many decades earlier. Fannie and Freddie are essentially left on "autopilot" just so long as they continue contributing to congressional re-election campaigns of incumbents.

    2005-2008 – Congwessman Bawney Fwank says, "Fannie and Fweddie aw finanthially tholvent (wink wink nod nod)."

    2007-8 – Housing bubble implodes.

    2008-9 – Congress commits election year fraud with the October Surprise known as "bailouts or else the sky will fall." Doles out gahzillions to prop up failing companies with absolutely ZERO oversite or conditions for taking the "crutch for failures." Republicans are called "eeeeeeevil" for voting against bailout fever.

    Yeah, I'd say Congress is "somewhat" responsible for the current mess.

    March 18, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. Wes Cobb

    It amazes me how high and mighty Congress is getting! The very same Congressmen who today are berating an executive for making a very difficult decision based in the realities and gravity of this situation are the very same ones who over the years have wasted WAY more taxpayer money than AIG or any other failed bank can ever misuse. Never mind the fact that these Congressmen are the same ones who had a hand in creating the primary contributing factor - the housing collapse.

    March 18, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Tex

    The citizens of the State of Connecticut should be proud of Blarney the Weiner and Christopher Dodge for the debacle that is FANNY MAE, FREDDIE MAC and AIG. Both of these idiots have been in charge for the last two years and were influential if deflecting inquiries into other questionable financial transactions.

    Mr Dodge should return all of the 100K that he received from AIG as "political contributions". I call them bribes and nothing short of that. Obama should return his money, Schumer shold return his money, Hillary should return her mondy.

    Establish term limits and vote the thieves out of office.

    March 18, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |