AIG Turns Over The Names Of Bonus Recipients

AIG has complied with Andrew Cuomo’s subpoena and turned over the names of the bonus recipients. The NY AG has released a statement about the issue, which you can read inside.

Mr. Cuomo says:

I have received the list of AIG FP employees who received retention payouts. Mr. Liddy testified in Congress yesterday that he intended to comply with our subpoena and expressed concern for employee safety. Mr. Liddy has in fact now complied with the subpoena. We are aware of the security concerns of AIG employees, and we will be sensitive to those issues by doing a risk assessment before releasing any individual’s name. The Attorney General’s Office is a law enforcement agency and is experienced in making these assessments.

As we perform our review, we will simultaneously be working with AIG over the next few days to determine which employees received payments and which chose to return the money they received.

The Attorney General’s Office will responsibly balance the public’s right to know how their tax dollars are spent with individual security, privacy rights, and corporate prerogative.

At this moment, with emotions running high, it is important that we proceed diligently, with care, reflection, and sober judgment.

We thank AIG for their compliance.

Do you think these names should be made public, or it enough that the Attorney General knows who they are?

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT RELATED TO AIG [NY AG]

Comments

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  1. PixiePerson says:

    I think my vote for “tell us!” has more to do with being nosy and curious than necessarily thinking we have a right to know.

    • Papa Midnight says:

      @PixiePerson: I voted “Tell Us!”, but I can already see somebody will take it a bit too far.

    • dangermike says:

      @PixiePerson: We have neither the need nor the right to know. These bonuses are a private matter of business between employer and employee. If I were Liddy, I’d have refused the subpoena and taken this to the supreme court. The plain facts of the matter are that these bonuses were contractually arranged and were specifically excluded from TARF regulation. You can thank Senator Chris Dodd for that. (interesting sidenote, he’s currently involved in the Country sweet-deal-for-legislators scandal and was the second largest recipient of campaign fuding from AIG — second only to then-senator and now-sitting President Barack Obama, who is now filling out NCAA brackets in LA instead of being at the helm and answering for the blatantly corrupt deal he signed into law last month.)

      • Optimistic Prime says:

        @dangermike: However as we are now the owners of AIG through the bailout, it is a public matter. That said, I don’t need to know individual names. I would however like to know amounts and whether or not they were still with the company when they received the “bonus.”

        Little known fact on wall-street- bonus is derived from the Latin word for good, bonus. That means you have to earn it by actually not destroying your company, but making it stronger.

  2. zentex says:

    as a shareholder in AIG (we all own 80% right?), I want full disclosure. If they didn’t want their name published or are “afraid” for their safety (asumating that the threats are real), they shouldn’t have taken the money when they knew damn good and well that there would be a backlash.

    “We thank AIG for their compliance [after we gave them no choice but to do it]“

    Liddy can go suck on a tailpipe.

    • Hank Scorpio says:

      @zentex:

      “asumating”?

    • cynical_bastard says:

      @zentex: If I am not mistaken, Liddy came into all of this after all the contracts for bonuses were signed.

      • David Cjr says:

        @cynical_bastard:

        I agree, liddy is just complying. He’s just the one that everyone gets to be angry at when it really shouldn’t be him at all.

        • Jesse says:

          @David Cjr:

          AIG was in a catch 22 situation here. It was either pay the bonuses and face an angry public or not pay them and spend the next decade in court fighting lawsuits from the employees trying to get their bonuses.

          At least AIG can say they paid the bonuses (prevent lawsuit) and then hopefully recover some of the money.

  3. enm4r says:

    What is productively accomplished by releasing the names to the public?

    Anger might be deserved, but it is best directed at those giving the money, not the employees who were contractually set to receive it.

    • SynMonger says:

      @enm4r: That it was contractual is a cop-out. If you were in this situation, would you be taking that bonus?

      • aguacarbonica says:

        @SynMonger:

        Yes, I would, and so would most people. Just because we can’t afford the lifestyle that these men are living doesn’t mean that they are ready to give it up so easily when they have a bonus as an alternative.

        I’m also sure that most of the bonused employees are not of the opinion that they single-handedly ruined the economy, and I am sure that some are skeptical of their involvement at all. Why would they turn that money down?

        And while I’m at it, if they were feeling guilty, I’m sure they were also feeling that their jobs were in jeopardy. Just one more reason to take the money and run.

        • UX4themasses says:

          @aguacarbonica:Just because we can’t afford the lifestyle that these men

          Who says they are men? Nice generalization.

          There is a reason there were bonuses and stipulations. The people getting the bonuses are WORLD RENOWNED crooks. They drove the country to financial ruin based on some RISKY calls at best (stupid is more like it).

          • BrianDaBrain says:

            @UX4themasses: Does it matter if we say “men” or “women”? Really?

            @enm4r: Well said. You make a great argument. Yes, we should all be disgusted that the heads of AIG are swine, but really the blame lies with our inept representation, their panic-driven bailout plans, and their complete lack of any knowledge even remotely related to economics. Especially considering that Obama and Congress knew about these bonuses well in advance of now, but only now choose to take action against them. It’s a sad state of affaris, but one that will hardly be resolved by releasing a bunch of names.

      • Papa Midnight says:

        @SynMonger: Considering my current lack of income as a college level student, Damn right.

      • Collie says:

        @SynMonger: Damn skippy, if I did my job and performed to the level of my contract. We do not know ht e details. This a huge company that failed, who is to say who caused it. If we would not have bailed them out we would not be discussing this issue, but we did are we going to second guess every decision these companies make now. We just passed a 1 trillion dollar pork laden “stimulus” bill for God knows what, and this is what angers the American public, we are truly in a sad state.

    • Saboth says:

      @enm4r:

      You are aware that these individuals were a major contributor to the whole financial meltdown that occurred in America, and the world in general right? AIG was linked to every major financial institution in existance, and when their risky, greedy bets didn’t pay off, it created a domino affect. Most of the people getting the bonuses directly worked on these funds that collapsed. So before you go thinking they are some kind of innocents being strung up as “fat cats”, you have to realize they are majorly responsible for your 401k being worth 50% less than it was before. Yes, there were lots of other factors, like the housing crisis, etc, but these guys directly had a MAJOR ROLE in the whole thing. So we need to be paying retention and performance bonuses with taxpayer dollars for ruining the country, as well as their company?

      • dragonfire81 says:

        @Saboth: Which is exactly WHY the names shouldn’t be made public. These people, if identified, will have a massive bulls eye on their head. Being publicly named would open them up to harassment…or worse.

      • Collie says:

        @Saboth: Until you know the details you can not make those assumptions. There were almost 500 people, some of them may or may not have been directly involved in some of those issues, AIG does a lot of different businesses, some completely unrelated to the mess they caused.

        This is why our government should not be in the business of helping private companies, before long these country is going to turn into the French revolution, and the wealthy will have their heads removed in the public square. This is what a lot of people want anyway.

      • enm4r says:

        @Saboth: I’m well aware of the situation. Some of them are the worst of what’s wrong with corporate America. Some are mid-tier employees who received $5000 bonuses because they performed above expectations. Why should I take 90% of that $5000 back?

        My point was that anger should be directed at the government for haphazardly giving out our tax dollars and the top tier of these companies. Paying a “retention bonus” to someone who has left the company is absurd and laughable, but if that’s what AIG thought appropriate and the fed signed off, who am I to demand the name of a private employee at a private company? And what would you do once you had that name anyway? That is the specific point made.

        The shame is that we didn’t outright take the company over. Instead they get to play the game as private company with our dollars. For that I’m angry, but not at the people receiving the bonus, I’m angry at our government.

        • Saboth says:

          @enm4r:

          I kind of agree with the fact the names shouldn’t be public. Only bad things can come of it…people slashing tires, angry mail, or worse. On the other hand though…Wallstreet has had this coming for years now. They are running deals behind close doors like speculative trading that is hurting the entire country (remember $4.50 gas when oil was actually going DOWN?). Wonder why food costs more when resources are cheaper? These very few people basically can cause America to become a 3rd world country if their “bets” are wrong. A handful of people are playing games with the entire welfare of America, and there has been no oversight, no transparency. And America is sick of it. And we aren’t talking “write an angry letter to my congressman” sick. We are waaaaay past that. We are talking “find people responsible for this mess and beat them with hoses” sick.

          • aguacarbonica says:

            @Saboth:

            The problem is that releasing the names of people who received bonuses doesn’t tell us ANYTHING. It tells us that AIG paid its employees. We don’t know the roles of those employees in the economic meltdown. We don’t know how much they themselves knew, how much they contributed through their own negligence or incompetence, how long they worked for the company, or how they stood to benefit from financially risky market decisions.

            If the American people go after the names of bonus recipients as their crusade, AIG basically won and can wash their hands of it. There is no doubt in my mind that AIG is throwing plenty of innocent people under the bus along with the guilty ones to avoid in-depth investigations into COMPANY practices. Individuals only caused this mess in conjunction with company policy, rest assured.

            Real justice comes from finding out what ACTIONS caused this, not from crucifying people who look guilty because they were given a check. Hell, maybe they were given that check so they could take the fall.

            • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

              @aguacarbonica: I suppose I should be glad that so few people see why we need the names. Most people don’t realize that people who accept what they shouldn’t from one place are likely to be accepting, or taking, what they shouldn’t from somewhere else. These aren’t their insurance clients who received the money for claims. These were people who AIG thought needed to be paid off for some reason. What was AIG trying to accomplish, and did they accomplish it? What else were the bonus recipients involved in that we need to know about?

              • enm4r says:

                @speedwell, avatar of snark: I think that’s a ridiculous assumption based upon a false premise that all of the recipients shouldn’t have received anything. There are thousands of people who received bonuses at companies that received TARP money.

                To assert that none of them deserved it is going out on a limb…to then assert that because they received a bonus they are somehow probably involved in other negative dealings that you need to investigate is using that limb as a trampoline.

                • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                  @enm4r: Uh huh, because getting a retention bonus after you’ve left the company is totally on the up and up.

        • wgrune says:

          @enm4r:

          You can demand the name of the private employee at the private company because we as taxpayers are 80% shareholders in that company.

          This is a symbolic gesture more than anything.

          I agree with you in that if we were going to be majority shareholders in this turd, we might as well have gone balls to the wall and taken it over entirely.

          • enm4r says:

            @wgrune: This is a symbolic gesture more than anything.

            Unfortunately it’s a huge legal gesture as well. They’re a private company essentially backed by a government loan (that they are/will make dividend payments on). They’re not a public entity that has to publish salary like a city official.

            It’s just unfortunate for the taxpayers that our congressman were too busy politicizing the bailout instead of taking the time necessary to draft intelligent policies. The blame rests on all Washington, not one party.

        • acrobaticrabbit says:

          @enm4r: @friendlynerd: tar and feather in the town square!

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          @enm4r: And what would you do once you had that name anyway?

          Watch those folks. Research them. See who had their hands in the cookie jar before, and during, and after.

      • mcs328 says:

        @Saboth: @Saboth: I would read this article before blaming the current employees at AIG. [www.washingtonpost.com]
        The people responsible according to the article no longer work at AIG. The people left behind are being paid to stay and clean up their crap. So I wouldn’t want to lynch the people who came after the fact but hunt down the people who caused it in the first place who have since left. That’s my two cents.

    • snowburnt says:

      @enm4r: Who’s being naive now? Private company? The government owns the company and it’s essentially a ponzi scheme now, government pays them they pay bonuses.

      Except for matters of national security, all spending is publicly accessible, these bonuses should be publicly accessible as well.

      Further, I don’t care who you are or what you did for the company. If your company has to take out a loan from the government to stay in business it shouldn’t be paying out bonuses. If you are insecure enough to have bonuses written into your contract that aren’t linked to performance you shouldn’t get bonuses.

      If you take a “Retention bonus” and quit, you should have to read an apology in front of time square. If the mob doesn’t think you meant it you should have to read it again until you actually mean it.

      I don’t think there is anything these people could have done to entitle them to a million dollar bonus.

      I have no problem with someone building a business and making millions off of it. I have a problem with someone riding the coattails of the biggest government intervention in history and walking out of it with a fat wallet. These people are disgusting.

      • enm4r says:

        @snowburnt: We disagree on where the anger should be directed. I agree these people are disgusting, but that shouldn’t be a surprise considering the company they run.

        Everything you are angry about could have been prevented if our representation in Washington had done anything other than hand out blank checks after ramming legislation through. Their mistakes are directly responsible for this.

        If you want to be disgusted at the AIG company culture, fine, I am too. But they wouldn’t have had the cash to pay if we had a competent government. I’ll take my anger out directly on the source.

      • enm4r says:

        @snowburnt: I also missed the point above, being a majority stock owner does not mean this is not a private company. Just because the government gave them loans doesn’t mean they get to see every line item of detail.

        If they wanted that level of control they could have gone the FRE FNM route. But they didn’t, so now we see congress trying to pass unconstitutional bills to cover their incompetence.

  4. Jabberkaty says:

    And the puppet theatre goes on…

    Who helped write those contracts? The suddenly outraged government?! Weird.

    • Eliamias says:

      @Jabberkaty: That is exactly what I’m more interested in. I want to know who came up with the brilliant idea of doing this and most importantly when. What were the assumptions behind this? Was it like Merrill Lynch where they did a quick cash grab because they knew the bonuses would be reduced were time to go on and losses crystallized, or did they tie them to historic levels because they assumed that things will continue to fly high and wanted to limit the future bonuses?

      I have tar and feathers ready, to be sure, but I want to make sure I get the right person.

  5. basilray says:

    Dear Corporate Fat-Cats,

    Time to pay the piper. Feast or famine…you have to own up to swindling us tax payers.

    Too bad it took a real man like Andrew Cuomo to get this mess fixed. Shouldn’t this have been prevented at a higher level? I’m not political scientist, but I could have sworn just a few months ago there was a man who campaigned on “Change” and “Oversight” and “transparency.” Was I the only person who saw through that crap?

    By the way…I was talking about our “savior” Barack Obama. I couldn’t be more displeased by 2 months of presidency.

    • Amir Khan says:

      @basilray:

      Honestly, 2 months of Presidency after 8 years of garbage policies, and you’re not happy? Obama isn’t an almighty savior, he’s a good president, and, in my opinion, he’s taking steps to ensure the well being of the country down the road. 2 months is nothing on the whole. It’s going to take alot longer than that for any real change to happen.

      • idip says:

        @Amir Khan: I agree. He’s only been President for two months and he’s already reversed quite a few of former President Bush’s policies.

        With regards to these contracts, there were in place BEFORE Obama took office. So when you say, “Washington knew! Those bastards” Remember that was Bush’s administration.

        The President has no authority to change contracts made by companies. That’s why he had to go to Congress to find a solution. What did they propose? That they get the IRS to tax 90% of those bonuses.

        So President Obama is doing everything in his power to fix this.

        Unlike the dictatorship we had under President Bush there are only so many LEGAL things that he has the power to do.

    • Tightlines says:

      @basilray: Was I the only person who saw through that crap?

      Wait, who are you talking about?

      By the way…I was talking about our “savior” Barack Obama.

      Oh, thanks for clearing that up!

      Yes, I believe you were the only person who did not like Obama’s policies and voted against him. THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD. What foresight!

      I’m not political scientist

      You should be!

    • ds says:

      @basilray: I think it’s the Conservative Theory of Relativity. The relative length of time (in relation to the actual passage of time) that “something should be done” in is inversely proportional to the government official’s desire to legalize torture.

  6. packcamera says:

    If “we as a country owns the company, then we have full rights to their bookkeeping and payouts. ’nuff said.

  7. TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

    “”Anger might be deserved, but it is best directed at those giving the money, not the employees who were contractually set to receive it.””

    Except perhaps at those employees who were instrumental in the entire AIG meltdown issue. My understanding is that several of the execs recieving bonuses were the same execs who pushed the risky behavior we’re all now paying for.

    I wish no physical harm to these people, but their friends and (removed) family should be aware of what even their tax dollars are being spent on.

    • enm4r says:

      @TakingItSeriously: That is valid, but you’re mixing two issues. You can be angry at the employees if they had a key role in taking the company and in part the economy. But specifically on the bonus issue, anger should be directed toward those giving (writing the contracts) and those enabling the contracts (the government which was privy to all of this in the fall.)

      I understand that people are upset, but what is happening now is that people are angry, they aren’t sure why, so they are willing to pitchfork anything that looks bad. Take a minute to unwind the issues and it’s not that hard to decide who gets blamed for what.

      • SynMonger says:

        @enm4r: We can eat our cake and have it too. I’m angry on both issues.

        Congress was lazy, and now we’re paying for it (again).

    • bloatboy says:

      @TakingItSeriously:
      Actually, that is not quite correct.

      The AIG credit swap people were apparently responsible for AIG’s financial problems, and they are already gone.

      The CEO (Liddy) and the people who got these retention bonuses were not part of that group. They were people who were not part of the problem, and using their expertise to fix, or at least cushion the blow caused by the others. Liddy wasn’t even CEO when the AIG crisis hit, the government asked him to take over to do what he has been doing. That is, to mitigate the damage caused by the people who are not receiving the $165m in bonuses.

      We can certainly have reasonable debate on many other issues, such as:

      1) Should congress have bailed out AIG at all? (Subquestion, was it constitutional for them to have done so?)

      2) Since the retention bonuses were protected by the very bailout bill itself, is it not shameless grandstanding when any member of Congress who voted for it feigns anger at AIG? (Subquestion, should not all members of Congress be forbidden to vote on any bill until they have read it from beginning to end? Seriously, if I can read the patriot act in my spare time, they ought to be forced to do so when it is their job?)

      3) Congress has committed us to spending $11b a day. That means they (probably) waste more than $165m before breakfast. Some fiscal discipline would make their wrath a bit less hypocritical.

      A reminder about the NY AG. Andrew Cuomo is far more responsible for the economic mess we are in than AIG. For him to do anything other than fall on his sword (take that any way you wish) is a pure whitewash of his excrable record as a public servant. At the very least, he is unfit for any office, and the only thing I would vote in the affirmative for the man is a lengthy prison sentence.

      • acrobaticrabbit says:

        @bloatboy: how do you know “The AIG credit swap people were apparently responsible for AIG’s financial problems, and they are already gone.” ? Do you have proof that all the people involved in these risky deals are no longer with the company? I’m just curious.

        Also, how is Cuomo far more responsible for the economic mess we are in than AIG, the biggest insurance company in the nation?? You are stating some pretty powerful opinions, but where are the facts to back them up?

      • acrobaticrabbit says:

        @bloatboy: also, I’m not being snarky. Really, I want to know how Cuomo is more responsible for the housing crisis that led to this financial meltdown than a large financial firm?

  8. friendlynerd says:

    Public shame is one of the few weapons we have in this war. These names need to be released.

    • SynMonger says:

      @friendlynerd: Bring back the pillory!

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        @SynMonger: The government doesn’t make any effort to keep the names of innocent people out of the newspaper while they are accused of serious crimes. Are the bonus recipients more innocent, more deserving of privacy, than someone falsely accused of wrongdoing?

  9. MrBlastotron says:

    @ enm4r:

    +1. The fact that we “own the company” is fine and good. In fact, I agree that we have the right to see their book keeping, to an extent. However, me knowing Joe Shmoe’s name is going to nothing for me. GREAT! I have it… Now what do I do with it? However, anyone with more… say malicious intent than I could take that info and go the completely wrong way with it. Put simply, if these names are released, the internet community will exploit it to the fullest, finding all information about them and therefore inhibiting their ability to live safely (read: normally.) Let the guvmint keep the stupid names.

    • ionerox says:

      @zentex: We don’t “own” the company, the Fed is the primary shareholder. AIG is still a private company, not a government entity. That doesn’t give you the right to find out whatever you want about the employees of the company. Right now AIG is only accountable to the Fed.

      Now, if they’d done it right to start with, and put AIG into receivership so the Fed actually had control- it would be a different story.

      • SynMonger says:

        @ionerox: And who owns the Fed? Say it with me now… WE DO.

        It really is too bad they didn’t take it over outright. I work for a state funded college, my name and salary (along with every other employee here) are freely available to anyone who walks in and asks to see it.

    • Saboth says:

      @MrBlastotron:

      Weird, I think their risky bets that didn’t payoff had a big negative effect on many americans that are struggling because they lost most of their savings and wealth. Pardon me if I am not too concerned about their privacy and safety.

      • enm4r says:

        @Saboth: You might not be concerned for their privacy and safety, but I am concerned about mine. The precident here is too large to ignore, that the government can come in and void legal contracts between two consenting parties because of populist outrage should be unacceptable to all Americans.

  10. rachmaninov1 says:

    How about a little skepticism, Consumerist?

    “The Attorney General’s Office is a law enforcement agency and is experienced in making these assessments.”

    “The Attorney General’s Office will responsibly balance the public’s right to know how their tax dollars are spent with individual security, privacy rights, and corporate prerogative.”

    Please… The AGO is a political body, and Mr. Cuomo is a politician. Does anyone believe the AGO is objectively balancing rights, rather than maximizing Cuomo’s political advantage?

    • SynMonger says:

      @rachmaninov1: It’s a press release, I’m pretty sure someone at the Consumerist didn’t write it. There aren’t any grammar or spelling mistakes.

      • Papa Midnight says:

        @SynMonger: You’ve apparently never gotten Press Releases on a regular basis. They sometimes come filled with grammatical and syntax errors. I get dozens of them in my inbox from gaming companies on a daily basis. It can be absolutely hilarious at times.

  11. ionerox says:

    No way, the names shouldn’t be released. These people work for a private company. How would all of you who work in the private sector like it if your salary and benefits were released publicly?

    They’re already working to get the money back, and it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what’s really wrong with the economy right now. I want Congress to stop the grandstanding and move on and deal with some real issues. If they want to go on about inappropriate wastes of federal monies, they should start with themselves. Or maybe they can have congressional hearings on how they changed the laws to let this all happen.

    • Communist Pope says:

      @ionerox: I don’t see how AIG is a private company. It’s A) publicly traded, and B) 80% of it is now owned by the U.S. taxpayers. What’s private about that?

    • SynMonger says:

      @ionerox: Shame is a very powerful tool. The names should come out if they have taken a bonus and aren’t planning on returning it.

      While it may technically be a private company, the largest shareholder currently is the federal government, which to me makes it a public enterprise and their records are all fair game for freedom of information act requests.

  12. Snarkysnake says:

    I think a lot of folks that are opposed to this disclosure are missing a big point. This is not about a few goobers that took an outsized check home with them on Monday. This is basically America standing up to Wall Street and demanding accountability.At long last.

    AIG went to the governmnet in September and said “give us a shitgob of money or the entire world will blow up”. The government stupidly did just that. Now that the payer us demanding that the payee come clean about how it is being spent,”free market” “capitalists” are having a thrombosis that we taxpayers want answers. Well, fuck them. They abandoned capitalism the second that they hoovered that money from we who earned it.This shouldn’t even be an issue.

    Socialism stinks. It robs people of their ambition every bit as much as a daily dime bag. But thats what Wall Street wanted way back in September and October when it looked like the sky was falling.(Aided and cheered on by a former president that I could name).

    I hope that these people become household names. Maybe a little shame and humiliation will bring them back to reality.

  13. savdavid says:

    You can bet lots of that money is gone. Off shore accounts, etc….and many of the employees will be “out of the country” till things cool off.

  14. celticgina says:

    Wait, before they release, those names, lets make sure the villagers have time to get their torches and pitchforks ready!

    Seriously, this whole thing is beginning to sound like CASABLANCA…..

    “I am shocked to see gambling in this establishment, Rick”

    Yeah, the pressure brought to bear in getting the money back is good, but how much did we spend in doing that?? Taxpayer dollars fund the AG office…

    just saying….

    • SynMonger says:

      @celticgina: Just because a public office is spending money doesn’t make it a bad thing. Spending it on finding out who these people are serves a purpose.

  15. TEW says:

    The original bailout had a provision in it that would not allow the bonus to be paid. Sen Dodd put a last minute provision that allowed AIG to keep their bonuses at the insistence of the Obama administration. They need to be allowed to keep their bonuses because they took the money and then the government changed its mind. We talked a lot here about how it is wrong for credit card companies to change its terms when it is allowed under contract; I don’t know why we don’t see outrage over the government taking 90% of what is owed to someone.

    • SynMonger says:

      @TEW: Really? Links or it didn’t happen.

      How about a bill number? The minutes from the session this happened in?

      Where is the beef?

    • PunditGuy says:

      @TEW: If the government hadn’t come along, there would be no AIG, and therefore no bonuses. I think the new “owner” of the company can rewrite those terms, given those circumstances.

      I’m sorry the government didn’t do that at the start. Maybe we’ve all learned a valuable lesson here: the financial sector of the economy lacks any sense. I was going to add “sense of decency” or “sense of fairness” or “sense of responsibility” — but just plain “sense” works too.

      If these are the people who brought down the company, from a performance standpoint they shouldn’t be getting bonuses. If they aren’t, but they’re the only people who can, for some reason, undo what was done, we’ve given them a massive incentive to take their sweet time. None of this makes sense.

    • snowburnt says:

      @TEW: as nice as it is that they just passed the bill taking back 90% of the bonus money, it’s not enough. I think it should be 110%.

      10% of 168 million is still 16.8 million they are getting that they should not have.

      That said, all government spending except for certain national security dollars the public has full disclosure on. This money should be no different.

  16. DustoMan says:

    I’m so done with this AIG fiasco. Congress has no right to single these people out. If they are upset over stimulus money being used for bonus, then they should have put it into the bill. These employees worked to minimize the damage done to AIG and the money that would have been needed to keep it afloat. It is hypocritical for AIG to then take the money and give it to them, however this is how businesses work and Congress knows that full and well. They cannot go back and make blatantly unconstitutional laws and stand up on a pedestal and condemn AIG over something they were the ultimate cause of. It’s political nothing but grandstanding and a desperate attempt to save face among their constituents.

    • SynMonger says:

      @DustoMan: You’re kidding of course. It’s a subtle joke so I’m sure not everyone will understand the depths of it.

      The employees worked to minimize the damage? As Jon Stewart said, “They burned the f-ing house down with our money and walked away rich as hell…”

      What “blatently unconstitutional” laws are you talking about? Taxes are within the constitutional powers of Congress. Just because Congress screwed up doesn’t mean they have to shrug and say “oh well.”

      Grandstanding? Maybe, but they are finally doing what we WANT. I’ve been burning up my congress-critter’s e-mail and snail mail boxes with what I want done.

      • DustoMan says:

        @SynMonger:

        Article 1, section 9 of the Constitution which reads in part, “No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”

        “A bill of attainder was a legislative act that singled out one or more persons and imposed punishment on them, without benefit of trial. Such actions were regarded as odious by the framers of the Constitution because it was the traditional role of a court, judging an individual case, to impose punishment.”

  17. ShrikumariAmphisbaena says:

    Okay, everyone take a breather here…

    These people work in the private sector. All of the people receiving bonuses were promised these bonuses prior to any federal assistance, etc. Not every person working for AIG deserves to be blamed for the crises we are experiencing. Take me for example, I work for a local law firm as a paralegal. I make a meager wage and look forward to any-and-all raises, bonuses, etc. If some lawyer was to do something stupid and get our firm in the news, I wouldn’t want the public finding out who I was, blaming me for the issue and demonizing me. We live in a brave new world where the internet is extremely powerful. It is not prudent to release these names.

  18. JusticeDemon says:

    “This is how business works”

    For those using that logic in their arguments, that’s the problem right there.

    Business shouldn’t work that way. We need to take a big step back and look at what kind of society we’ll become if we continue to blindly support private “free market” businesses with taxpayer money and no oversight!

    It seems to me that virtually every area of business in this country needs a serious overhaul. I’m not calling for communist rule, but CLEARLY leaving people alone and trusting them to do the wrong thing DOES NOT WORK.

  19. Rachacha says:

    Start off releasing the figures with “Employee1, Employee2…” a description of the nature of the payment and the dollar amount.

    It was taxpayer money, and the taxpayers have a right to see how the money is being spent, unless releasing the names would endanger the lives of the employee. A list of salaries is available for all federal employees except those who work for the FBI, CIA, NSA, CTU, MIB and other similar agencies.

    In this case the concern would be that taxpayers would be upset if they saw that an employee received a mitli-million dollar payout while they were shut out in the cold.

  20. Blueskylaw says:

    There is an old Chinese proverb that applies here:

    “There is no feast in the world that does not end finally”.

  21. jc364 says:

    I think that the safety concern for the employees is very real. As much as the American people have revolted against these bonuses, these employees would be harassed to no end.

    As long as the Attorney General deals with the situation properly, I do not care to hear the names.

  22. metaled says:

    If they got “Retention Bonuses” and are no longer with the company, then YES, release their names as you file charges against them for fraud!

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @metaled: Indeed. One of the things you do when you accept a retention bonus is sign a contract saying that if you leave the company within a certain time period, you forfeit the bonus. If the bonus recipients left before the retention period and didn’t forfeit the bonuses, then they didn’t sign such a contract and the bonuses weren’t retention bonuses.

  23. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    When a prostitution agency gets busted, standard operating procedure is to release the client list to the public. I suppose to shame* them in the eyes of the community.

    Financial Ops at AIG is responsible for a pretty large part of the current state of the economy. People are losing their jobs. People are losing their homes. People are losing their faith.

    I would think making the list public will do a much better job of shaming them and exposing them as the villains than if they were on a list of people looking for a little nookie.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @Applekid: (* shame clearly not applicable to those who are single, aren’t pretending to be chaste, or aren’t dishonest about their fidelity to their partner)

    • chenry says:

      @Applekid: Except the clients of a prostitution ring have done something wrong. There is no proof that every person on this bonus list has done anything wrong.

      Guilt by association? Shaming them based on that alone, that’s practically MacCarthism.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        @chenry: Don’t make me laugh. You or I would expect to be in trouble if we had accepted cash from a business that was shown to have committed wrongdoing or fraud, especially if the record showed that there was something fishy about the payoff.

  24. runswithscissors says:

    Again I ask:

    Why are these execs still employed with AIG?

    Why have they not been fired already for incompetence?

  25. Alex Duzik says:

    I can’t fathom what reasonable purpose revealing the employees’ names would serve. Is it to shame them? To make it easier for lunatics to threaten them? I can’t think of any legitimate reason for the public to know.

    The public’s outrage is not about the $165m in bonuses per se. It’s over what that money represents: the very worst of the greed and excess of Wall Street over the past decade.

    It’s also a pitiful demonstration of the malleability of certain politicians’ values depending on, as my great-grandmother would say, “whose ox is being gored.” A contract is binding, non-negotiable and unbreakable when wealthy Wall Street bankers benefit, but a contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on when it promises union auto workers a certain rate of pay and benefits.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @Alex Duzik: Alex, it’s quite simple but it may not be so obvious. We need the names because these people were involved in funny business with taxpayer money. What other financial funny business might they have been involved in? Connect… the… dots…

  26. Towtruck says:

    I don’t believe the public has a right to know. I would hope they would be smart enough to return the money…and if not, be taxed at 90% as is proposed.

    Unfortunately, there are plenty of whack-job activists that could pose a serious security threat to these people if their names are released.

  27. John Israel says:

    I do not care about the employees names at all. I just wish that everyone who is pissed at the employees and AIG would aim some of that anger towards the pandering morons in Congress. They were the enablers in this whole mess, they didn’t bother to put in any stipulations over contractually guaranteed bonuses. Now that the public is supremely pissed, the politicians in Congress decide to try and save face by switching sides and getting behind the pitchfork-wielding angry mob. Pelosi and company can go fuck themselves.

    (When I say ‘Pelosi and Company”, I am not explicitly blaming any one party more than the other, so don’t fucking bother posting stupid shit about which party deserves more blame. They ALL deserve a fucking boatload of blame.)

  28. MattO says:

    i think people are also missing the point here – i agree that those bonuses seem insane, especially since it is my money that is paying for it, but the fact of the matter is, it is complete conjecture that the recipients are people who caused the whole mess to begin with. Since we dont know who got the bonuses, there is no way we can say that they are at fault…people for the most part love “innocent till proven guilty”, but when it comes to their MONEY, they seem to feel quite the opposite.

    I also thnk it is ludicrous that they got these bonuses with taxpayer money – but just like some of the other BS that has happened with corporate jets and things, sometimes it really does cost the company MORE money to do the “right thing”, and NOT pay bonuses, cause they will then be breaching contracts…same with GM and superbowl ads….

  29. Anonymous says:

    Did you guys see that there is a bus tour of the AIG exec homes.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2009/03/19/bus-tours-of-aig-exe.html

  30. njrob_2006 says:

    Not all of the people that got money were “execs”. There are plenty of people that got a bonus at the middle management and staff levels that were not the one’s setting corporate policy or pulling the trigger on the all the complex transactions that went south on them. Exposing the list would in itself be a terrible invasion of privacy. Taxing people at 90% for being in the wrong place at the wrong time is basically what Chavez has done to private industry in Venezuela. As an Obama supporter, that part is very disappointing to me. This has nothing to do with change, and everything to do with political grandstanding in light of a misinformed public’s dsire to have a name and a face to blame for their own misfortune.

  31. Morgan Jindrich says:

    I feel an episode of Law & Order coming on. Names go public, vigilante neighbor takes it in to his own hands, Michael Douglas guest stars as Andrew Cuomo…golden.

  32. heltoupee says:

    I think that it’s plenty that the AG knows who they are. He’s going after these guys hard, and now he knows who to watch. I don’t think that he’ll waste any time prosecuting any of them for anything he possibly can relating to these bonusses.

  33. balthisar says:

    Why is everyone so jealous? That’s what this comes down to.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @balthisar: Oh, no, I wouldn’t say I was jealous of a bunch of people trembling in fear that people might find out they accepted a payoff from a business engaging in fraud.

  34. vladthepaler says:

    Bonus recepients should be told that if they don’t return the bonus money, their name will be publicly released in a week. That will give people time to choose to do the right thing, and shame those who don’t.

  35. Rask says:

    The New York AG office is grand-standing and media whoring on this whole issue.

    The IRS, with the measure passed yesterday would’ve known about the entirety of the bonuses paid and who they would’ve been paid out to because AIG would’ve had to declare those.

    Frankly, Andrew Cuomo is pushing this hard to increase his popular appeal. Expect to see him running for some type of governmental office in NY State before too long.

    It would also be highly irresponsible for the AG’s office to release the names. Yes these people were getting obscene amounts of money but that was under contracts that were aggreed upon in what is assumed to be good faith before the bailout money even existed. This isn’t the fault of the recipients and they should NOT get thrown under the media bus because of that.

  36. njrob_2006 says:

    ‘asumating’ enough said. This hass made for Jerry Springer all over it.

  37. synergy says:

    On one hand my thought is that technically they are now government fund receivers and like others, their paperwork, communications, and recepiants (sp?) should be public information. It’s not like they can’t afford security. :-p On the other hand, I don’t really care who they are since it’s not likely I’ll ever run into them at a bar or anything. I’d just like my money back.

  38. Onion_Volcano says:

    Less stimulus
    More oversight

  39. chenry says:

    I think it is against their rights to have their names released. They haven’t been charged with any crime (yet), and there is a very real threat to their safety if the names were released. Hell, I’d probably stop by just to ask for a couple of bucks.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @chenry: False targeting. The release of the names is not what endangers them; the fact that they accepted a payoff from a company engaging in funny business with taxpayer money is what endangers them, along with the fact that they chose to accept the money even though they knew where it was likely to have come from.

  40. justsomeotherguy says:

    They can avoid all safety concerns by giving the stolen and unearned money back.

    frankly I hope the list is made public and someone they hurt finds them and their families.

  41. sirellyn says:

    This is ridiculous. You know how annoyed you are with the AIG bonuses? That was 165 million.

    The Fed printed another TRILLION dollars yesterday. No oversight no nothing. The US military has LOST a trillion dollars in the War.

    The amount that you are pissed off about, is about 0.02% of the amount you don’t even care about.

    I guess that shows how important the american people are. Out of all the money that is managed by the government, your combined voice is only worthy concerning about 0.02%.

    btw. The bailouts and Fed money printing this year alone is going to top 10 trillion dollars easily. So it’s more like 0.002%.

    If someone stole a two dollars from me and laughed in my face I’d be mad. But I’d be more concerned about the other gentleman who casually stole 100,000 dollars from me.

    Get your priorities straight.

  42. dorianh49 says:

    I like buttons :(

  43. campredeye says:

    People forget that they wouldn’t exist if they didn’t get bailed out with tax dollars. They wouldn’t get paid their bonuses, period. They should not take it, and be happy they still have a job.

    End of argument.

  44. AtomicPlayboy says:

    Would the anti-corporate ideologues here who are rushing off to the castle with pitchforks and torches also recommend that the government release the names of all of the deadbeats who defaulted on their Fannie/Freddie mortgages and loans as well? Surely, their irresponsibility has cost us taxpayers a hefty sum, and they share a major portion of culpability for the current economic mess. Why not tar and feather them as well? Or is it just the wealthy and successful that deserve criticism and punishment?

    The mob mentality that has overcome the Consumerist comment crowd over this issue is sickening. The argument that as taxpayers we deserve to be able to expose and excoriate these AIG employees is a wish come true for the class envy types who have previously been frustrated in their efforts to bring down their socioeconomic betters. Ugly and shameful, and yet another argument against government stewardship of corporate entities.

  45. Skaperen says:

    I don’t have a right to know unless it can be shown that an individual was, at the least, a part of the decision making process that put the company at risk of bankruptcy (for which we are bailing them out to prevent). If some overpaid “floor” trader (as I understand it, none of this stuff really had a trade floor … it was all done by computer) got his “end of year salary lump sum” because compensation often is structured that way, then the only issue I really see is if he really was doing the work expected of him.

    What we should have is an impartial (outsider) investigation. But if we (via our elected misrepresentatives) are going to grill to death someone that volunteered to take on the job as substitute CEO for $1 a year, I don’t see how anyone will be willing to do anything near any of these companies. Right now if I got a good job offer in my field (computers, networks, etc) from AIG, I’d just ignore it. In fact, right now, I wouldn’t take any job at any financial company.

  46. Daniel Kubik says:

    Let’s take a BIG step back here, shall we?

    [www.nytimes.com]

    There are REAL consequences for releasing these names. The AG has the names. It’s in their hands now. At minimum, it’s a moral victory, which is what this was about to begin with; $170 million dollars is peanuts in the grand scheme of things.

    Let’s not let it come to some crazy disgruntled shareholder shooting some guy in AIG’s middle management to cool things down.

  47. serracloud says:

    I think the employees’ names should not be released to the public. The Attorney General just needs to let us know that the situation is being handled in an appropriate way, while not excluding the public from the process in total.

    I agree it is reprehensible that these employees were paid bonuses for helping AIG fail like a Penguin trying to cross the interstate. However, the true blame lies with the people who authorized and distributed the bonuses, not the employees who accepted them.

  48. grapedog says:

    they should be named, they should be harrassed, they should be made to feel mountains of shame in public.

    these assclowns caused a worldwide economic collapse, and they KNEW they were bullshitting the system, in the name of greed.

    let this be a warning to anyone else planning a global financial shitstorm.

    • Daniel Kubik says:

      Some of these people were just doing their jobs. Turning this into a witch hunt accomplishes nothing.

  49. axiomatic says:

    I concur with most of you. PUBLICIZE THE SHAME! Hopefully it will serve as a deterrent for future upper management to stop the greed.

  50. maines19 says:

    As an aside:

    Those who take the money and get taxed at 90% essentially pay the bonus (or at least 90% of it) directly back to the government, i.e., us.

    Those who give their bonus back are giving it back to AIG, where they’ll probably find some other way to misuse the money, rather than the money going directly toward paying back what we by way of our government has given AIG.

    I would not be half surprised to learn that executives are being told, “Give the money back, nudge nudge wink wink, and we’ll find another way to reward you with obscenely expensive perks, but we’ll all look good meanwhile.”

  51. richcreamerybutter says:

    @Snarkysnake: well said, though I do think working your ass off for a capitalistic system with no guarantee of receiving appropriate compensation for the level of work contributed (and being subject to the whims of a company in general) is much, much less motivating than the concept of socialism.

  52. loquaciousmusic says:

    The AIG FP office is in Wilton, Connecticut, two towns over from where I live. The guy who got the biggest bonus owns a house that I see every day on my drive to work. Many of these names are already out.

    That being said, most of the folks who have already been fingered have agreed to give the money back. (See this article from today’s Times.) They are being threatened. Their kids are being threatened. The whole thing is an absolute mess.

    Would finding out these names satisfy my curiosity? Sure. Would it do any good? Probably not.

  53. savdavid says:

    Why do BIG BUSINESSES have to be threatened before they will comply with the law? Oh, I forgot, Bush let them do this for 8 years. Party is over.

  54. kreatre2009 says:

    The bonus recipients should sue AIG for disclosing their names. This is utter B.S.! The government should NEVER try to regulate compensation except for maintaining a minimum wage. If we allow the government to limit the pay of executives, and limit bonus payouts, they will someday come to the rest of us and tell us that we’re not allowed to earn above a certain limit. Think I’m wrong? Just sit back and watch and remember that I warned you about this on March 20, 2009.

  55. njrob_2006 says:

    Can you explain to me what it was these executives did that constitutes “bulshitting the system”?

    Why are so many people ready to risk harming the families of these executives after hearing oversimplified explanations of what may or may not have happened doled out by the lowest common denominator sources? AIG’s losses stem largely from the decrease in value of securities collateralized by the homes and mortages of Americans. If everyeone lived within their means and paid their mortgages and credit cards on time, this crisis would be much more manageable and require a lot less bailout money. The AIG executives didn;t put a gun to the heads of people to borrow more than they should have.

  56. JasonRyanIsaksen says:

    It’s not their names that are important, what is the name of the person who authorized them? What committee voted to pay these? Of course Joe/Jane Executive isn’t going to return the check, it’s who said “yeah we’re in terrible trouble lets sign these checks instead of announcing bonus cuts”?

    Jason Ryan Isaksen

  57. ageshin says:

    The names should be made public. One of the problems is that Corporations are privet, and so what they do is not transparent. These huge organizations are governments in themselves and hold no real alegence to no one, except in a small way the stockholders. What they do is not transparent, and their only job is to make money. They are beholden to no one and that is why we are in the insane mess now.

  58. Enkael says:

    Yes, lets release the names and hand them over the hysterically deranged populist mobs that have decided to use AIG as a scapegoat for everything wrong in the world.

    Brilliant.

  59. Aaron Robinson says:

    The bonuses need to be taxed 200% and failure to pay those taxes should be punishable with life in prison without parole. The names should be released and these people need to be held accountable. They royally screwed up and if the public want them torn apart it’s their own fault.

  60. njrob_2006 says:

    can you please explain how they screwed up?