Monday, March 16, 2009

Sen. Webb on the Need to Hold AIG Accountable

There has been a lot of talk lately about how people are claiming that AIG must be allowed to pay out millions upon millions of dollars in bonuses because of contracts, but that the auto workers are expected to renegotiate their contracts. In other words, the wall street bankers get a pass while blue collar workers have to suffer a loss. Recognizing the need for accountability on this issue, Sen. Jim Webb issued the following statement.
“There is nearly universal agreement in the Senate that AIG, the recipient of nearly $200 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars, is out of line by offering excessive bonuses to some of the very executives that helped to feed the financial crisis by investing in toxic assets. The American people deserve accountability on how their money is spent.

“It is important to put into context that, while the U.S. auto industry was ultimately provided $24 billion in repayable loans to help ensure the viability of millions of American jobs, AIG received $197 billion in federal dollars with little apparent oversight. Of that amount, AIG has distributed tens of billions of dollars to foreign banks—more than the entire amount loaned to the auto industry. Furthermore, one of the requirements for the auto industry to receive federal assistance was to renegotiate existing workforce contracts, yet we are told that Wall Street contracts are sacrosanct.

“Most agree that government action was necessary to stabilize the financial system, but lavish bonuses and payouts to foreign banks were not Congress’s intent and do not represent a proper usage of taxpayer money. I will continue to push the administration and this Congress to strengthen oversight, especially in light of AIG’s recent actions.”

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