17 March 2009

Bailout bonus backtrack

Congressional lawmakers are scrambling to think up creative ways to recover at least some of the $165 million in bonuses that bailed-out American International Group is paying executives -- but they could be their own worst enemy.

Though Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is among those leading the charge on retrieving the bonuses, an amendment he added to the $787 billion stimulus bill last month created a roadblock to getting that money back.

The amendment, meant to restrict executive pay for bailed-out banks, also included an exception for "contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009."

This would seem to exempt the AIG bonuses that lawmakers and President Obama are looking to recover. Incidentally, Dodd is the largest single recipient of 2008 campaign donations from AIG, with $103,100, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Dodd amendment creates a "prohibition on what the president is now talking about," said Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, the House minority whip. He also accused the administration of being in "disarray."
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