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Obama’s Team Wanted Bonuses In Bill

Mr. Dodd’s latest version, via a forgiving CNN:

Dodd: Administration pushed for language protecting bonuses

Thu March 19, 2009

(CNN) — Senate Banking committee Chairman Christopher Dodd told CNN Wednesday that he was responsible for language added to the federal stimulus bill to make sure that already-existing contracts for bonuses at companies receiving federal bailout money were honored.

Dodd acknowledged his role in the change after a Treasury Department official told CNN the administration pushed for the language.

Both Dodd and the official, who asked not to be named, said it was because administration officials were afraid the government would face numerous lawsuits without the new language.

Dodd, a Democrat, told CNN’s Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer that Obama administration officials pushed for the language to an amendment designed to limit bonuses and "golden parachutes" at those companies.

"The administration had expressed reservations," Dodd said. "They asked for modifications. The alternative was losing the amendment entirely."

On Tuesday, Dodd denied to CNN that he had anything to do with adding the language, which has been used by officials at bailed-out insurance giant AIG to justify paying millions of dollars in bonuses to executives after receiving federal money.

He said Wednesday that the "grandfather clause" language "seemed like innocent modifications" at the time.

"I agreed reluctantly," Dodd said. "I was changing the amendment because others were insistent." …

At a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa, California, about an hour after Dodd spoke, President Barack Obama didn’t directly address the language change — but said he’ll take responsibility for the bonuses being awarded.

"We didn’t draft these contracts. We’ve got a lot on our plate. But it is appropriate when you’re in charge to make sure stuff doesn’t happen like this," he said. "So we’re going to do everything that we can to fix it." …

AIG’s derivatives branch is in Dodd’s home state. Many of the bonuses in question were awarded to executives at that branch. But in the written statement, Dodd said he had no idea the legislation would impact the company.

"Let me be clear — I was completely unaware of these AIG bonuses until I learned of them last week," he said.

Dodd also said in the statement that his comments on Tuesday and Wednesday to CNN did not conflict.

"I answered a question by CNN [Tuesday] night regarding whether or not [an exemption before] a specific date was aimed at protecting AIG," he said. "When I saw that my comments had been misconstrued, I felt it was important to set the record straight — that this had nothing to do with AIG."

According to a transcript of the Tuesday interview, Dodd was asked about an executive-compensation provision "that exempts everything prior to February 11, 2009 — any contracts prior to that date."

He said that language was not in the version of the bill that left the Senate and that he was not one of the negotiators who hammered out a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the plan.

"I can’t point a finger at someone who offered a change at all," he said.

Asked whether he had later been able to figure out who added the language, he said, "I really don’t know."

In Wednesday’s interview, Dodd never said his Tuesday comments had been misunderstood.

"Going back and looking, I apologize," he said when questioned about his words from the day before…

Whatever else Mr. Dodd’s latest exegesis reveals, we now know for sure that everyone who was anyone knew about those wicked AIG bonuses months before last week.

The people in the Obama administration, Mr. Dodd and the rest of the top Democrats are not even good liars.

(Thanks to Canary for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, March 19th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

23 Responses to “Obama’s Team Wanted Bonuses In Bill”

  1. BillK says:

    See Dodd backpedal, part 2:

    Dodd Does an About-Face on Exec-Comp Wording in Law

    By Rich Edson

    After initially denying he inserted a provision watering down his own executive compensation amendment in the stimulus, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) admitted to doing just that, adding he did so at the urging of Treasury Department staff members.

    “When you’re sitting there wanting to retain as much as you can of your language, and the implicit suggestion is you might not get anything unless there’s some modifications, it’s not an uncommon practice to say well, OK, this seems relatively innocent a month and a half ago — and so the modification was accepted and that’s what was written into the bill,” said Dodd to FOX News.

    What the Obama Administration had been calling the “Dodd Amendment” curbs executive pay for certain recipients of aid from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. However, the bill that passed Congress included a provision for “an exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009.” Dodd’s original amendment did not include that exception, but the final bill did.

    Dodd’s office told FOX Business on Tuesday evening that it didn’t know who wrote that provision into the bill.

    “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,” wrote Kate Szostak, a Dodd spokesperson.

    That began a string of comments from the Treasury Department, stimulus conferees and Democratic leadership saying they didn’t know who wrote that sentence.

    A Treasury Department official said the Treasury Department pointed out only that the initial version of the Dodd Amendment — one that allowed compensation limits on contracts already agreed to — could lead to litigation. However, the Treasury official said the department did not insist on the exemption that made it into the final version of the stimulus bill. The official said Treasury had no leverage to insist it be included.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office said the Senator did not know who put the exemption in the bill, but his staff was trying to find out who was responsible.


    Oh, I’m sure Reid will get to the bottom of this.

    I’m equally sure it’s not going to be Dodd or any other powerful Democrat.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    He put the language in there for fear of lawsuits. Not because he felt the bonuses should be paid out. We must be clear on that.

    The driving force behind liberal democrats is never what is right or good or correct or even in keeping with established norms, but instead is due to self-preservation.

  3. proreason says:

    The clown act is getting so frantic that even the msm is having to “report” it.

  4. TickTock says:

    It’s all thuggery. Dumba$$ Dodd can’t keep his story straight, and he still throws Dumba$$ Obamy under the bus. Priceless.

    Obama is too busy partying and picking his B-ball brackets to run the this nation. This is a pattern that goes back to voting “present”.

    When the going gets tough, H. Obamy flees DC for the impassioned adulations of the fawning MSM.

    Enjoy it while you can, buddy. Have another fabulous party on us…

    • Odie44 says:

      Tick –

      I saw the replay of Bambi’s picks last night and a few “odd” things struck me about “the hardest working 20 hour a week guy” in America:

      The ESPN host, that conducted the interview – is neither a head analysts, nor is considered an NCAA “expert” – so why in the hell does he get more face time than world leaders, the economy, GITMO, etc. etc.

      Obama does have some knowledge in 1 area – NCAA basketball. Considering he is inept at policy, governing, the Constitution AND just got off 5 month cycle that coincides with the start of NCAA basketbal – why does he know more about Oklahomas inside game, than lets say Russia…

      The 5 minute clip lets me know this dolt has time to watch games, see highlights, follow players individually, rather than doing his job. Every time I hear “we are really busy, hard work going on over here, can’t answer the phone Brits, so watch your DVD’s, we have a plan” think Bambi and a few friends sitting around a TV, eating pizza and playing Bonk…

  5. Steve says:

    From our friend Jake Tapper at ABC News:

    President Obama Compares Big Banks, AIG, to Suicide Bombers

    March 18, 2009 10:46 PM

    At his town hall meeting in Costa Mesa, Calif., Wednesday evening, President Obama compared embattled insurer AIG and other large failing banks to a suicide bomber.

    “A lot of people say, ‘Well, why not just let the banks fail?'” the president said. “‘Why don’t we just let them fail, let them go bankrupt, what’s the problem?'” …

    The president said, “It was the right thing to do, even though it’s infuriating, even though it makes you angry because you’re thinking, ‘I was responsible and these folks are irresponsible and somehow I’m paying for them.’ The same is true with AIG. It was the right thing to do to step in.”

    “Here’s the problem,” Mr. Obama said, “It’s almost like they’ve got — they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger. You don’t want them to blow up. But you’ve got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger.”


    This is why he cannot be trusted off-script.

    • proreason says:

      Steve, weren’t you gigging me a couple of weeks ago about calling him The Moron? :-D

      But aside from the moronosity of the POTUS saying something that stupid out loud, he has a valid point buried somewhere in his tortured analogy.

      A handful of people at AIG are the only people in the world who understand the complicated derivatives and credit swaps that are (unfortunately) still key to the world financial system. It’s not like you can replace them with Chicagoans who have been hanging around the welfare office the past few decades. That’s why the bonuses had to be paid.

      A better analogy than the Moron’s would be to say the situation is akin to hanging the only 2 plumbers in town, immediately after the sewer main breaks. Not a good idea, even if the plumbers deserve it.

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      But little Barry tries SO hard to seem smart and astute. Be nice to the little fella. “Give him a chance” is what they’re sayin’.

      Uh huh. Righhhhht.

    • Odie44 says:

      Why is he at a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa and not 1600 Penn Ave.?

      We know the answer…

      Why is he comparing AIG to a suicide bomber?

      We know the answer…

      The most incompetent President ever.

    • TwilightZoned says:

      I couldn’t for the life me of figure out why O picked Biden as VP. Turns out they’re both made from the same cloth. Or it takes one to know one. Idiots!

  6. MinnesotaRush says:

    “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office said the Senator did not know who put the exemption in the bill, but his staff was trying to find out who was responsible.”

    Yet ANOTHER shining example of leadership. DOH!!! Not only do we not know what each other are doing (ha ha); but we don’t take the time to read the damn thing to find out .. Mr Reid.

    But his staff will find out who was responsible. Yeah right. Responsible and Congress shouldn’t even be in the same sentence.

    • proreason says:

      Even given the gross incompetancy of Congress, it’s a near certainty that there is someone responsible for version control on the Porkulus bill, and they know EXACTLY who, when, and why every word was inserted…………and it would take about 1 minute to find that person.

      More diversions from the criminals who run our country.

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      Exactly, Pro! These dimwitted liars don’t even do that well; but they are very aware of the backdoor b/s and processes that goes on.

      Polished and accomplished liars.

    • TwilightZoned says:

      People get fired for gross incompetence. I can’t wait for 2010…

  7. wardmama4 says:

    I would think that this was a good thing – IF the Democrats ever, ever did a damn thing about any of their Party who was wrong but with them forever it has not been about the results – it is always about intention.

    They knew that they could not legally do a thing about bonus, retention bonus and/or severance pays – so instead they do the ‘right’ thing with entirely wrong intentions – to one day use it against the very people who were simply playing by the current set of rules – not being crystal ball readers to know that tomorrow such behavior would be demonized by the Klownposse in DC.

    However like the GOP who should have long ago stopped attempting to be bi-partisan and civil to a rabid, foaming at the mouth bunch of lunatics – Corporate America should have known that once the Dems held 2 of the 3 branches of Government – their days would be numbered.

    But I find it delicious that all these bunch of losers are pointing their fingers at each other – I don’t think that The One ™ has Messiah status anymore – such a fall from grace. Imagine that. And only 69 days – Wow it just blows my mind.

    I have to bet that Dodd is not long for re-election – How dare he blame The One ™ when clearly his fingerprints were the one on the document.

  8. Steve says:

    From the Associated Press:


    March 19, 2009 — ALBANY, N.Y New York campaign finance records show American International Group donated $100,000 to the state Democratic Committee just before Democratic Gov. David Paterson and his insurance superintendent launched marathon sessions to prop up the embattled insurer.

    The contribution was made Aug. 29. Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo started negotiating with AIG and federal officials within about two weeks.

    On Sept. 16, Paterson announced the “great news” that New York officials helped the giant insurer strike a historic loan deal with the Federal Reserve to keep AIG afloat


  9. U NO HOO says:

    “someone responsible for version control ”

    If it were me I’d ask to talk to the typist.

    Or is that private information, unlike the bonusees.

    Seems simple.

    We’ll never know.

  10. brad says:

    ~my comments had been misconstrued
    ~taken out of context

    ~~~~~~All lawyer-speak for: LYING~~~~~~

  11. pdsand says:

    From a flabbergasted me, via an irate Reuters:
    Veteran senator Dodd in the eye of AIG bonus storm
    Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:10pm EDT

    “a powerful U.S. Democratic senator has a big bull’s-eye on him in the firefight over taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives at insurance giant AIG…

    Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and one of the more prominent faces of the Democratic Party, is scrambling to explain…

    A one-paragraph provision tucked into the thick bill…

    Dodd, who is running for re-election in 2010…

    The back-and-forth is not good news for Dodd, 64, in his potentially difficult re-election race in Connecticut…

    In a sign of his potential vulnerability, a recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Dodd’s opponent in the Senate race, Republican Rob Simmons, led him by 43 percent to 42 percent…

    Dodd made a brief run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, moving his entire family to the early voting state of Iowa to show his commitment. He ended up winning only 1 percent of the vote in Iowa and abandoned the race…

    The white-haired senator has also faced criticism over two mortgage loans he received from Countrywide Financial…”


    GAWLDANG! Democrats will learn not to piss off their media masters, I think Reuters just declared Dodd a lameduck Senator, a year and a half away from the election…

    • pdsand says:

      Of course the other way to look at it, I just realized, is that the media can safely dump all over Chris Dodd, because there’s no chance of him losing his seat, and it will draw all fire away from Obama. I guess this story is nothing that remarkable after all. Just giving cover to the man who promised to go through the budget line by line, but he let such a provision go forward in a $800 billion spending bill, and what I’m sure he intended to be the crowning jewel of his early legislative achievements.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Yeah, it’s not like he killed a young woman by drowning her in a trapped car while knee-walking drunk or anything.

  12. canary says:

    Just hours before Dodd told the truth, Obama was says “we” did not cause this. But we will fix it, and people clapping, like he’s a hero. This is like reality TV where everyone trys to out shock the other’s bad behavior. Grasslly talks about suicide bombing was worse enough, so ego-maniac TERRORIST OBOMBYA figures the President of the US saying that AIG is ready to Commit Suicide and Blow themselves up like TERRORISTS wouldl do, but you can’t say the word TERRORIST anymore????? The U.S. President can talk about non-terrorists doing a terrorist act, just don’t use the word TERRORIST!

    We’ve got to with great ease talk Obombya into slowly release his finger of the button of his sucide bomb he has wrapped around the U.S., real fast, before we are broke and torn apart. Don’t want to see a “crimson ribbon of blood” (his words soon to be in our Middle High Schools) in this country.

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