WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) is calling for repeal of a provision in the stimulus legislation, which expressly allowed companies like American Insurance Group (AIG) to provide bonuses even after receiving federal bailout money. Congressman Dent opposed the bloated stimulus spending bill which was rushed through Congress in February containing this protection for Wall Street executives.
Congressman Dent is a co-sponsor of legislation introduced by Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) that would strike the language that exempted any bonus payment required by a written employment contract signed prior to 11 February 2009 from the stimulus bill’s executive limits. The provision was inserted by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, at the request of the Treasury Department.
The provision is one of the roadblocks in preventing AIG from distributing nearly $165 million in bonuses, despite being the recipient of billions of dollars in federal bailout money. Congressman Dent noted that AIG was already in receipt of significant federal assistance beginning last fall, and should not have been allowed to proceed with bonus payments.
AIG CEO Edward Liddy testified before Congress on Wednesday as members of Congress, and the American public, increasingly express their outrage at the company’s disregard for the taxpayers who have been bailing them out of serious financial straits.
“This highlights a failure by Treasury to provide effective oversight,” Congressman Dent said. “At a time when so many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, it is an insult to see taxpayer dollars line the pockets of well-heeled Wall Street executives. Our federal government has an obligation to be good stewards of federal resources. Unfortunately, some members of Congress and officials at the Treasury Department have valued expediency over responsibility.”