It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry over the AIG story. Maybe satire is the only reasonable response. Scott Ott comes through:
As the furor over AIG executive bonuses threatened to bring the current economic recovery to a halt, President Barack Obama and Sen. Chris Dodd today threw fuel on the fire, announcing their “fierce outrage” upon hearing that the insurance giant had given each of their campaigns more than $100,000 last year.
“While AIG was collapsing, and her executives crawling to DC with hat in hand,” said Sen. Dodd, D-CT, “my campaign, and then-Senator Obama’s were getting what can only be termed influence bonuses from the same firm. Naturally, I knew nothing about this, and I’m now seething with anger at the injustice.”
President Obama and Sen. Dodd were the two largest recipients of campaign contributions from the beleaguered company, and the only politicians to garner six-figure amounts from AIG in 2008 — $103,100 for Sen. Dodd and $100,332 for presidential candidate Obama.
AIG, which has received $170 billion in taxpayer cash from the federal government since September, gave more than $585,000 to Congressional and presidential candidates last year, favoring Democrats 3-to-1 over Republicans.
In unrelated news, Sen. Dodd proposed legislation requiring AIG political gifts to be returned to the U.S. Treasury, “exempting only those campaign contributions made before November 4, 2008.”
The senator’s office immediately issued a statement declaring that Sen. Dodd was not aware that he had proposed such the exemption.
It does seem–to be serious for a moment–that a number of companies who showered campaign cash on Barack Obama got their money’s worth. [UPDATE: More on this theme here.]
UPDATE: This is the AIG exception that Chris Dodd wrote into the “stimulus” bill:
The prohibition required under clause (i) shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009, as such valid employment contracts are determined by the Secretary or the designee of the Secretary.
Obama signed the bill, so it’s hard to see why he should be surprised to learn about the AIG bonuses. Of course, I’m just being facetious: he never read the bill, either.
It may not be fair to describe an administration as a train wreck after just two months, but, what the heck: I’ll say it anyway. The Obama administration is a train wreck.
FURTHER UPDATE: One last thing. President Obama famously said that spending equals stimulus. It really didn’t matter what was in the “stimulus” bill since all spending is equally good. That being the case, how, exactly, is paying bonuses to AIG employees any less a “stimulus” than the other $750 billion or so of mostly-wasted spending? What rational basis is there to single it out for criticism? How, exactly, are the AIG bonuses more deserving of opprobrium than spending tens of millions to aid the salt marsh harvest mouse?