AIG’S SCANDALOUS PAYMENTS

AIG has now entered the Hall Of Corporate Infamy. The global insurance behemoth gained entry the old-fashioned way: It earned it.

AIG has now entered the Hall Of Corporate Infamy. The global insurance behemoth gained entry the old-fashioned way: It earned it.

Even as the company was pocketing $200 billion in taxpayer bailout money, it was quietly slipping million-dollar bonus payments to 73 of the very same executives who caused the firm to crash. Stuff like this has turned AIG into a four-letter word. In fact, public rage is so hot that the corporation is seeking a new moniker. As its CEO recently said: “I think the AIG name is so thoroughly wounded and disgraced that we’re probably going to have to change it.”

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In Washington, politicians of both parties are presently competing to call AIG the ugliest of names, roundly condemning it for its reckless involvement in the financial scams that have now wrecked America’s economy. But, wait – who authorized those scams by deliberately putting them beyond the reach of market regulators? Washington politicians, that’s who.

While they denounce the bonus payments going to AIG executives, they don’t mention the payments that AIG has systematically deposited in political pockets. The Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group, reports that this giant insurer ranks as one of the top 100 “Heavy Hitters” of all time in Washington’s political money game, giving millions of dollars to both Republicans and Democrats.

Having financed the politicos, AIG has also spent heavily on lobbyists to get office holders to rewrite investment rules – and bailouts – to its liking. Last year, for example, it spent nearly $10 million for Washington lobbyists. That’s $53,000 for every day Congress was in session.

You can trace the bailout scandal to the scandal of political money. To learn details of AIG’s political payouts, go to www.opensecrets.org.

“AIG Finds image, sales taking hits in bailout uproar,” Austin American Statesman,” March 24, 2009.

“Before the fall, AIG Payouts Went to Washington,” www.opensecrets.org , March 16, 2009.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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