Democratic Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd is the chief beneficiary of campaign cash from American Interational Group, AIG, the insurance firm at the center of public outrage for handing out lavish bonuses.
Dodd has received more campaign donations from AIG’s political action committee and employees than any other lawmaker. Records made available by the Center for Responsive Politics show Dodd received $280,238 of the more than $4 million AIG has spent trying to influence Washington this decade.
In the aftermath of disclosures AIG spent hundreds of millions of taxdollars giving employees generous bonuses, a handful of Democrats have proposed imposing a heavy tax, between 90 to 100 percent, on AIG’s bonus pay to recoup the money.
While many members of Congress consider this idea there has been confusion about Dodd’s role in placing limits on executive pay in the president’s stimulus bill.
Fox Business reported Dodd inserted language into the bill to place restrictions on any bonuses given by companies being assisted by the goverment that were handed out after February 11. Therefore, the “Dodd Amendment” would have effectively protected the bonuses AIG handed out to their executives since the bonuses were doled out before that date. ABC News similarly reported “Dodd’s measure explicitly exempted bonuses agreed to prior to the passage of the stimulus bill.”
Dodd has pushed back hard against that analysis. Dodd Spokesperson Kate Szostak contacted the Washington Times to say the executive compensation amendment in the final version of the stimulus bill was different than the version Dodd inserted to the bill passed by the Senate. The final amendment regarding executive pay, according to Szostak, was worked out between the Treasury Department and the bill’s conferees.
A review of Senate version and final version of the bill shows Dodd’s original amendment did not include the February 11 cut-off date although the final version signed by the president did. Both versions of the bill are available for public review on www.thomas.loc.gov.
In the end, the Senate supported passage of the final bill, which exempted bonuses issued before February 11, from the restrictions 60-38. Dodd voted in favor of it.
This is Szostak’s statement in full: “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. Because of negotiations with the Treasury Department and the bill Conferees, several modifications were made, including adding the exemption, to ensure that some bonus restrictions would be included in the final stimulus bill. Though not a conferee, Senator Dodd insisted that the final version include a provision to require the Treasury Department to review past bonuses. At the same time, Senator Dodd supported legislation by Senator Wyden that would tax the bonuses so that taxpayers could recoup some of this money; unfortunately, that provision was removed from the stimulus bill in Conference. 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.”
- Amanda Carpenter, The Washington Times