Outrage on Capital Hill Over AIG BonusesPosted: Updated:
WASHINGTON D.C.-- Across the nation many headlines are addressing the controversy over American International Group or AIG.
They're about executive bonuses after the company was bailed out with taxpayer dollars. AIG was one of the insurance companies that was bailed out to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars, but that didn't stop the company from approving almost $200 million worth of bonuses to executives.
It was just last week that Senator Patty Murray asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner about safeguards to limit abuses by corporations who had received bailout money.
"My constituents are hurting, families and businesses are really struggling, and they do not understand the fact that some of these companies are having lavish weekends and paying out bonuses. How are we going to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used not for these things that seem so out of line to ordinary citizens who are trying to pay their bills?" said Murray.
One company AIG, who received $180 billion in bailout money from taxpayers, decided to give it's derivative traders and executives $165 million in bonuses, something they say is needed to keep top talent.
President Obama strongly disagrees and because of federal aid 80 percent of AIG is owned by taxpayers.
"How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat," said Obama.
Iowa Senator Charles Grassley spoke candidly about AIG executives in a radio interview.
"The first thing that would make me feel better towards them is if they would follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say I'm sorry and then do one or two things: resign or go commit suicide," said Grassley.
Obama says it's more than just the money, it's about fundamental values.10 democratic senators want AIG's CEO, Edward Liddy, to renegotiate the bonuses or they will try to levy a 91 percent excise tax on them.