Continuing AIG Fallout
The President is trying to lessen the damage from the AIG bonus babies, perhaps by using the most recent $30 billion dollar payout as leverage:
It was unclear what legal options the government can pursue. Monday afternoon, a White House official said the Treasury Department will use a planned $30 billion infusion into AIG to compel the company to repay the bonuses to employees of its financial-products group, which is responsible for selling the exotic financial instruments that brought the company to near-collapse.
The infusion, announced March 2, won't be finalized until the company and the Treasury work up repayment options, the official said. The bonuses to the financial-products division were "found to be completely unacceptable given that AIG is already surviving on taxpayer funds," the official said.
On the more local front, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will subpoena AIG to seek information on who received the bonuses. And if this continues through the next couple days, expect street actions.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Change to Win labor federation are wasting no time in seizing the political moment as anger flares over AIG's commitment to its own executives' bonus payments.
The unions, along with several other partners, are launching takebacktheeconomy.org and planning protests on Thursday at the regional offices of bailed-out banks in more than 100 cities. The goal of the day: pressuring Wall Street into substantively changing its bonus-happy culture.
I actually find it a little sleazy for union leaders to openly discuss how to tie this in to the Employee Free Choice Act; people can make that causal connection on their own, or it can be used as a counterpoint, but I wouldn't tip the strategy so openly.
Regardless, AIG has now cemented its image as the top corporate criminal in this crisis, and this inside/outside pressure might even dislodge them from their precious bonuses.