Dodd: ‘I'm Giving Back AIG Cash'

Claims Innocence in Bonus Debacle

Taxpayers all over the country are fuming over the multi-million dollar bonuses handed out over at AIG, particularly at the Connecticut-based Financial Products division.  After all, it is the taxpayer's dime. 

“Not So Fast You Greedy Bastards,” read the front page of Wednesday’s New York Post.

But the piling on is also focused on Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, who some say has his fingerprints all over it.

The Donations

By late Wednesday, Dodd was telling the press he would return any campaign donations that are linked to bailout money.  Those  campaign contributions were already made to his unsuccessful 2008 Presidential campaign.

From the Connecticut Post:

"I don't want those contributions," he said, of any that might be tainted by the scandal over the use of taxpayer money to fund bonuses for some top managers.

It's been reported that he took in more than $103,000 in the 2008 election period from AIG's Wilton-based Financial Products unit.

It's unclear how much Dodd will return, and to whom.

The Amendment

Dodd, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban affairs, is being criticized with originally being in favor of protecting these bonuses before the public hoopla began this week.  It all has to do with an amendment, described here.

It gets a little more messy:  Dodd, like President Obama, has accepted thousands of dollars from AIG in the past for his campaigns. 

Michelle Malkin’s column in the New York Post on Wednesday called Dodd a “corporate crony.”

“Pay no attention to what his left hand was doing,” Malkin said. “Dodd's right fist is pounding mightily, mightily for the sake of the taxpayers. The hypocritical indignation on the Hill is bipartisan.”

Dodd’s spokeswoman Kate Szostak fired back in the Hartford Courant:

"Senator Dodd's original executive compensation amendment adopted by the Senate did not include an exemption for existing contracts that provided for these types of bonuses,'' Szostak said.

"Senator Dodd was completely unaware of these AIG bonuses until he learned of them in the past few days; to suggest that the bonuses affecting AIG had any effect on Senator Dodd's action is categorically false.”

In the meantime, AIG CEO Edward Liddy testified Wednesday on Capitol Hill.  He announced at the hearing that he asked AIG employees who received more than $100,000 in bonuses to return half of the amount, and for all higher-up executives receiving bonuses to return them in full.

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