March 18th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Washington to blame for AIG bonus scandal?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As outrage over AIG bonuses reaches a fever pitch, many are now wondering why our leaders in Washington didn't do more to prevent the situation in the first place. The Obama administration says that it didn't know until a couple of weeks ago that AIG executives were set to receive $165 million in bonuses.

Cafferty: Why didn’t our leaders in D.C. do more to prevent this situation?

They say that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner found out last Tuesday; and the president learned of all this on Thursday, just a day before the controversial retention payments went through. But Geithner was running the New York Federal Reserve Bank last fall when AIG got a high-interest loan of 85 billion dollars to help prevent collapse - along with its first installment of federal bailout money.

And none of these folks must watch CNN because in late January, Mary Snow did a story on this very program about the insurance giant paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to its financial products unit.

And then there's Congress... When some lawmakers tried to prevent bonuses in the stimulus bill last month they actually made an exception for pre-existing contracts. Democrat Chris Dodd - who proposed the executive compensation provision - insists that he did not include that exemption clause. He says he doesn't know how it got there; as do several other Democratic sources.

Dodd and then candidate-Barack Obama were the top recipients of AIG political contributions in 2008 - each getting more than $100,000.

And there's more... The Senate had passed a bipartisan amendment that would have taxed bonuses on any company getting federal bailout money if the company didn't pay back the bonus money to the government; but that was stripped from the stimulus bill during closed-door meetings. This is bordering on insanity.

Here’s my question to you: How much is Washington to blame for the AIG bonus scandal?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Bailout • Washington
January 22nd, 2009
01:15 PM ET

Can Pres. Obama change the way Washington does business?


Can President Barack Obama change the culture of Washington? (PHOTO CREDIT: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama didn't waste time before getting to work and making changes. As he promised on the campaign trail, he is determined to make a clean break from the policies of the Bush administration.

So far he's ordered the closing of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay within a year, ordered all cases of terror suspects be reviewed, and banned torture.

The new President also issued a freeze on the salaries of senior White House staffers and implemented new ethics rules for staff who leave their jobs.

He promised openness and transparency and instructed his team to follow his example. This is a sharp contrast to the secrecy of his predecessors where it seemed the entire eight years was based on executive privilege.

President Obama is moving at lightning speed in a town that usually moves at a snail's pace. He wanted an emergency economic stimulus bill signed before his inauguration but was told by lawmakers it will take until February.

Here’s my question to you: Can President Obama really change the way business is done in Washington?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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