Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) spends most of his time slamming Edward Liddy, the CEO of AIG, for paying out bonuses in this CNBC video, but listen for his anger at the Obama administration’s insistence that it knew nothing about the bonuses until last week. Kanjorski says that people knew about the bonuses for months, and that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner needs to start reading his mail and answering his phone if he was truly that ignorant about the company he gave $150 billion:
I’m a little confused over Kanjorski’s thinly-veiled threat towards Edward Liddy. First, Liddy got brought into AIG by the government after the first bailout; he didn’t run AIG when it ran itself into the ground, and he’s just beginning to figure out what to fix, as Liddy himself explains in a WaPo column today. Also, as Dave at AOL Political Machine points out, we own 80% of AIG. If we don’t like the way the board runs the company, why don’t we replace them?
Kanjorski certainly understands the political ramifications of these developments. He blames Liddy for putting Obama’s bailout plans at risk, even though Lawrence Summers confirmed that AIG had a contractual obligation to pay the bonuses, but the end result will be the same no matter who gets the blame — the American electorate will resent the bailouts and clean house (and clean the House) in 2010. As Mel Brooks once said in Blazing Saddles, their phony-baloney jobs are at stake. And looking like the “Keystone Kops”, as Kanjorski accurately describes the Bonus Baloney, will make that result even more likely.