Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Monday night floated the idea of taxing American International Group (AIG: 0.964, 0.1839, 23.57%) bonus recipients so the government could recoup the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit. Within hours, the idea spread to both houses of Congress, with lawmakers proposing an AIG bonus tax.
While the Senate constructed the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd unexpectedly added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009,” which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are seeking to tax. The amendment is in the final version and is law.
Also, Sen. Dodd was AIG’s largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election cycle with $103,100, according to opensecrets.org.
Dodd’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
One of AIG Financial Products’ largest offices is based in Connecticut.
Dodd Amendment Rules
* Crack down on bonuses, retention awards and incentive compensation: Bonuses can only be paid in the form of long-term restricted stock, equal to no greater than 1/3 of total annual compensation, and will vest only when taxpayer funds are repaid. There is an exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009.
* For institutions that received assistance totaling less than $25 million, the bonus restriction applies to the highest compensated employee; $25 million to $250 million, applies to the top five employees; $250 million to $500 million, applies to the senior executive officers and the next top 10 employees; and more than $500 million applies to the senior executive officers and the next top 20 employees (or such higher number as the Secretary determines is in the public interest).
This is a prime example of the fox getting caught in the henhouse and scrambling to find an escape. Dodd has proven in the past to be one of the least ethical senators and here he is the perfect example of a hypocrite in action. Maybe he should consider what options his own career should take to end this mockery??