March 19th, 2009
04:25 PM ET
13 years ago

Geithner: Treasury pushed for bonus loophole

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNN Thursday his department asked Sen. Chris Dodd to include a loophole in the stimulus bill allowing bonuses to be paid."](CNN) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNN Thursday his department asked Sen. Chris Dodd to include a loophole in the stimulus bill that allowed bailed-out insurance giant American International Group to keep its bonuses.

In an interview with CNN's Ali Velshi, Geithner said the Treasury Department was particularly concerned the government would face lawsuits if bonus contracts were breached.

Watch: Geithner on AIG bonuses

Dodd admitted to CNN Wednesday he'd added the controversial provision after a Treasury official pushed for it. Earlier in the week, Dodd had said he had not played any role in the addition of the loophole.

Geithner told Velshi Thursday he takes full responsibility for the situation.

Also in the interview, airing in part at 5 pm ET on CNN, Geithner said:

– He does not believe TARP or the stimulus bill was rushed through Congress

– Calls for resignation are part of the job

-Officials will make sure that any further money comes with provisions (including executive compensation)

-His team will have a detailed plan for the banks w/in the next couple of weeks

-The recession will likely end in 2009, and 2010 will be a year of growth

See the comments this afternoon at 5 pm ET on CNN

Filed under: Chris Dodd • Timothy Geithner
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. ranjit

    Do we need any more proof that Tim Giethner is not just ready for being a treasury secretary? When is everyone is going to understand that, he was one of the architects responsible for AIG bail out under Bush Administration. So far, he has not done one thing right.

    March 19, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. JJ12345

    Maybe now everyone will realize that all POLITICIANS are liars and cheats. It is not restricted to party affilation.

    March 19, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. meh

    ray ray> Why be partisan about it? Why mention that they are Democrat? I don't get it.

    March 19, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. roy

    Obama, Dodd , Geithner, have all lied about this, so im guessing that this is the change we can believe in. If this was Bush and co. the liberals would be screaming for thier heads. Hypocrites!

    March 19, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Jim

    Bad move but at least they are taking resonsibility. That's somethimg the lat administration never did in 8 years. Fix it and move on.

    March 19, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Obama Victim

    a sleazy demorat.........who would have thought??

    March 19, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Kpawlak

    This is just another manufactured issue. The American people are being played like fiddles. The message — corporate America is bad, more government is good. Government is the good guy that is looking out for you and protect you from all those evil, greedy, rich executives.
    Government will take care of all your problems...

    They will also take your liberties too!

    March 19, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. Julie

    I think what Liddy is calling for, a voluntary give back on the part of AIG executives, is far and away the best solution. It doesn't leave us open to expensive lawsuits down the line. It's what Geitner should have been pushing for to begin with. But, he probably wouldn't have gotten it without the public outcry. But, I'm with Obama, let's move on already.

    March 19, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Ted - Ohio

    We see something here that we've never seen in the last eight years. 1. An administration that owns a mistake (did anyone listen to Dick Cheney this past Sunday?)
    2. A congress that actually does something to correct the mistake

    If that is not change we can believe in, then nothing will ever be. Mistakes will happen, but the key is how you deal with them when they do happen. Good job guys, it's clear that change is happening.

    March 19, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. an american first

    I don't think Geithner did anything wrong at all. He is right. If the contracts were nullified by the company that is not bankrupt – yes as a result of the bailout money – there will be lawsuits and we will all be outraged and the term "Socialism" would be used in every other sentence.

    So it was a lose-lose scenario for Geithner, but he did the right thing by establishing a balance between "limiting" the executive compensation on taxpayers' behalf and avoiding to outrage wallstreet in general which would have resulted into lawsuits and more distractions from the real problem.

    March 19, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Frank

    I haven't read or heard anything that Geithner has done to be fired or forced to resign. His only problem is he's an account who comes off as a geek and please the tax thing isn't worth firing. Considering stats show that over 89% of Americans have mistakes made on their income tax.

    March 19, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner should be fired today,

    March 19, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. souzan

    cammon every one how much you like that you have contract with some one and you do the job no matter how good or bad you are and after you get the job done they tell you sue us or get lost what is that.
    we are in the US the contry of law what happen what i am missing.
    just every one have some deap breath and think if you are a contactor and you get that get lost instead of your money what you will feel yes every one be carfull what you with for what goes around comes around

    March 19, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Thatsnobull

    Boot Geithner and his million dollars bonus team out the door to include YES MAN Dodd .
    Its a no brainer this country deserves better.

    March 19, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. Sandy

    It is time real Americans come together to save this country....It is time to demand the resignation Of Christopher Dodd, Timothy Geithner, and Barack Obama.

    Dodd and Geithner need to be removed from office for fraud. Isn't it convenient that Obama and Dodd were the two top recipients from AIG during their respective camapigns. They tried to defraud the American taxpayer and got caught. Now they are jumping over each other to "take responsibility".

    If the three of you really want to take responsibility for this crime, then please resign and turn yourselves in to The Atty. General.

    I am a Barack Obama voter...I truly am. This man lied to me....and he lied to each and everyone of us that voted for him. He lied to each and everyone of us that sent him contributions. He lied to all of us.

    Based upon his penchant for being dishonest, this man, like the last one is not able to carry out the duties of President of The United States. This man attempted to perpetuate financial fraud against us all.

    I hate to say this...I hate to see the over 700 dollars I wasted of my hard earned money to send to this man during his campaign. I hate to say this about the man I spent countless hours going door to door for....but I was duped.

    Mr. Obama is a criminal. It is time for the honest members of Congress to begin discussions of impeachment for financial crimes.

    March 19, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Chris

    Who are you trying to kid?

    As long as the crooks (executives) get to keep their precious anonymity, there will be no lawsuits from them.

    March 19, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Virginia

    Well, well–at least two of the crooks have owned up to what they did. What about the 3rd one–namely our prez??? But he won't do that; as the headline in the story on CNN says, Obama taking the blame means move on. Of course he wants to move on so he won't have to take REAL questions about REAL problems. He needs to stay in the White House and deal with the economic disaster before him instead of holding "campaign" town hall meetings and going on Leno. He isn't a movie star or a candidate anymore!!!

    March 19, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. IL Voter

    come on people. stop this blame game now. everybody makes mistakes. Block those bonuses with constructive laws and move on. so much to be done on infrastructure development.

    March 19, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. JJ12345

    He doesnt believe that TARP and the stimulus bill were rushed???? Well if no one had the chance to read it I would hate to see what happens if something is rushed. What a moron

    March 19, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. obama-mama

    I don't want to be mean but he should wear a baseball cap in all pictures or get a bang.

    March 19, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. Ray Chicago

    People we have a big problem with the economy I’m sure he doing the best he can with all the problems he had to deal with. Obama said the buck that with him. Only 60 days

    March 19, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. Chris A

    Resign immediately. Geithner can't pay has taxes and Dodd can't tell the truth! Is this change we can believe in?

    March 19, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. Brian Crooks

    @ Paul from Phoenix:

    What sense does that make? The White House would sacrifice Geithner for Dodd, who's already probably going to either lose his re-election bid or just plain retire? Your tinfoil hat is on crooked. Leave the conspiracy theories to the sweaty guys with ponytails who wear socks and flip flops.

    March 19, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. brett

    how can we trust Obama to pick him? what is next? that is alot of people who has LOOPHOLE... geez!


    So Dodd, too!

    That is why i dont support to have FULL government control.. only support to limit goverment control.. that is why they make the LAW to protect people's FREEDOM!

    Full Control Goverment = NO FREEDOM!

    History show proves! Do your homework from 1787 to 2009.

    Think twice in 2012.

    March 19, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    The bonuses are BS but that's AIG's fault to structure bonuses for individuals who do not benefit the company. And as a tax payer, I certainly would prefer not to give money to such a poorly run company. But we had to bail out AIG. And the bonuses are part of contracts. People seem to forget that in all of this outrage. The only way AIG could get out of the contracts (and maybe not even then because they're related to employment) would be to file bankruptcy.

    As an employee, if I had a contract to be paid a certain amount of money, I wouldn't want the government to come in six months or one year after I signed that contract and strike my contract down.

    March 19, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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