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Dropping the Ball on AIG Bonuses (Update: Team Obama Breaking the Law?)

John on March 19, 2009 at 9:37 pm

[Don't miss Update #2 below.]

It’s the story of the week and everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else. The President claimed he didn’t know until a few days before the money was released. Next it was discovered that Chris Dodd added a loophole to the stimulus bill to allow the bonuses to be paid. Now Dodd claims he did add the loophole but only because Tim Geithner asked him to do so. What really happened here?

Thanks to tipster Morgen, we now have video showing the moment the ball was dropped. Watch as Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman grills Bailout Czar Neel Kashkari:

YouTube Preview Image

As you can see, the Congressman was very upset about reports that some AIG executives were getting million dollar bonuses. This took place in early December of 2008, more than three months ago.

Oh, did I mention that Neel Kashkari was held over by team Obama? That’s right, the guy taking all that flak above (for allowing excessive AIG bonuses) is still the Bailout Czar under Obama and Geithner!

Do you think Obama’s ignorance of this situation is a little bit, oh I don’t know…feigned? And why didn’t the Democratic Congress do something about this back then?

Related: Liberal journalists on secret list serv are suddenly all of the opinion that talking about who knew what when vis a vis AIG bonuses is a “distraction.” Riiiiight! [HT: Hot Air headlines]

Update: Obama tells Jay Leno he was stunned by the bonuses.

Update 2: But wait, there’s more, courtesy of tireless researcher Morgen…

The TARP bill (that’s the big $800 billion bank bailout bill) mandated that a Financial Stability Oversight Board be created. It was to include The Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Here’s the really important part:

The law requires the Board to meet once a month, but it has already met four times in the just two months since the law was signed, with numerous staff calls between meetings, and expects to meet again this week.

But if you go to Treasury’s website where minutes for the meetings are posted, you’ll see something curious. The most recent meeting seems to have been on January 15th, the week before the inauguration. So either…

  1. the group hasn’t posted meeting minutes since Obama was elected or
  2. the group hasn’t met since Obama was elected, which would be a violation of law.

I honestly can’t say which is the case, but someone at a big name paper should be asking these questions ASAP. Certainly if team Obama has violated the law by not holding the monthly Financial Stability Oversight Board meetings, that would be newsworthy, especially since this is the group which would make decisions about things like executive bonuses at AIG. In fact, according to the meeting minutes, they talked specifically about AIG bonuses on November 9, 2008.

Hmmm… Maybe there’s another reason they’ve stopped posting the minutes online:

United States Government officials overseeing a US$700 billion ($1.21 trillion) bailout have acknowledged difficulties tracking the money and assessing the plan’s effectiveness.

The information was contained in a document, released this week, of a December 10 meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Board.

There is no press mention of the board after early January of this year. But the website where the minutes are posted says it was last updated March 9, 2009.

Update 3 – Friday, 2PM: NRO has picked up the story from Hot Air. I made a call to the Treasury Dept. press office around 11AM but still haven’t gotten a return call.

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