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AIG president Edward Liddy has started his testimony before the House Financial Service subcommittee. Here’s his WaPo op-ed if you haven’t seen it.
He just noted that he has asked employees to give back half the bonuses and some will return 100 percent.
Question: Will any of the fist-pounders move beyond the retention bonus issue and ask him about the $60 billion to foreign banks?
11:41am. First q: Why not return the bonuses earlier?
Liddy: We “blindly follow[ed] legal advice.”
Q: Why wasn’t committee informed of retention bonus return plan? Why not make payments on Saturday night?
Liddy: No intent to deceive. We had been discussing this with Hill staff.
Q: But not my staff?…and not Treasury Secy.
Liddy: No. Not with Treasury. Only Federal Reserve.
Q: Are you aware of TARP funds about to run out?
Liddy: Well aware.
Liddy: I talked to Treas. Secy last week and he said the first he’d heard about [bonus issue] was a week ago.
12:00pm Eastern. Frank demands names of execs who didn’t return bonuses. Will subpoena them. Liddy wants confidentiality. Frank refuses.
Liddy reads death threats against execs and their families. Frank flippantly says everyone gets those threats.
The execs are NOT public figures.
Frank dismisses threats as not specific.
Kanjorkski: Chastising Code Pinkos. “You’ve tried my patience…remove the signs or do you want to leave the room. If I see any more signs on camera, you are going to be physically removed from this room!”
Barney Frank echoes reprimand of Code Pink for suggesting Liddy was a crook.
Yeah, the crook signs should be pasted on the congressional enablers.
One sign I agree with: FIRE GEITHNER.
12:00pm. Frank demands names of execs who aren’t returning bonuses. Will subpoena them. Liddy wants confidentiality to protect their safety. Frank refuses. “I am not persuaded.”
Liddy reads threats. Frank says “Everyone here gets these threats.”
The execs are not public officials.
Frank dismisses threats as non-specific. Insists on subpoenas. Witch hunt continues…
12:10pm Eastern. Rep. Gary Ackerman says he will play teacher to Liddy. Pay the $165 million back. Not worth the angst. Give that back. Cut your losses, in financial terms. Just ain’t worth it.
“Cut your losses?”
Imagine how much better we’d better off if this was how Congress dealt with failing businesses.
Do as they say, not as they do.
12:19pm Eastern. Liddy: “There was great angst over bonuses during meetings with NY Federal Reserve.”
Ackerman: Will you cooperate with Cuomo’s subpoena of names of execs who didn’t return bonuses?
Liddy: We’ll do the right thing. Our intent is to comply with the subpoena.
Q: The NY Federal Reserve should be called to account. Congressman pushing receivership idea. Wants chart of future compensation plans. Wants all docs given to NYFed Reserve.
12:40pm Eastern. Democrat Rep. Capuano says he’s not against bonuses, just against bonuses for people who created the problem.
Well then, I’m sure he will return his automatic pay increases this year!
12:50pm Eastern. Finally some clarity from Jeb Hensarling. Corrects Liddy on describing desire to save AIG from failure. Hensarling says it is already a failure by definition.
Calls failure a failure. AIG bailout is “a conduit for counter-party transfers of taxpayer money.”
Four tranches of taxpayer money plus bonuses. If AIG employees have so much confidence in changes for success, go ahead and double the bonuses.
1:01pm Eastern. Democrat Mass. Stephen Lynch demagogues bonus contracts written in 2007 — before Liddy was at AIG. Yelling at the top of his lungs. Lynch. Appropriate name.
1:20pm Eastern. Recess. Can’t take anymore.