30 March 2009

The bribery of Sen. Dodd

The Washington Times has published an article that walks right up to the line of accusing Sen. Dodd of outright bribery and corruption. According to the article:

'As Democrats prepared to take control of Congress after the 2006 elections, a top boss at the insurance giant American International Group Inc. told colleagues that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd was seeking re-election donations and he implored company executives and their spouses to give.
The message in the Nov. 17, 2006, e-mail from Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executive, was unmistakable: Mr. Dodd was "next in line" to be chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the insurance industry, and he would "have the opportunity to set the committee's agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.
Now, two years later, Mr. Dodd has emerged as a central figure in the government's decision to let executives at the now-failing AIG collect more than $218 million in bonuses, according to the Connecticut attorney general - even as the company was receiving billions of dollars in assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He acknowledged that he slipped a provision into legislation in February that authorized the bonuses, but said the Treasury Department asked him to do it.'

Sounds like bribery to me. Of course, Dodd blames the whole mess on the hapless Treasury Secretary and Larry Summers. Barney Frank likes to say that the AIG executives took bribes by accepting their bonuses. That's rich coming from Frank, who took large amounts from Fannie, Freddie and AIG, but if one accepts it on its face, then demanding re-election funds surely qualifies as a bribe.

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