Promoted from diaries. - Moe Lane.
In today's Washington Times there is a report about how a bunch of AIG Financial Services executives were "asked" by their CEO to donate to Chris Dodd's campaign, and to encourage their subordinates to do the same. Read AIG chief executive Joseph Cassano's email for yourself.
Was this more than just a suggestion? Well, the boss said he wanted copies of the checks they sent. And it seems pretty clear that the recipients of the email got the gist: in less than two months, Dodd received over $160,000 in donations from AIG employees and their spouses.
Did Chris Dodd have any part in this request? We may never know. And it's not illegal. So what's the big deal? Well, the email pretty explicitly calls for the donations with the understanding that they will have very real and practical effects in their favor:
With the Democrats having regained control of the Senate following the November elections, Senator Dodd is next in line to become chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. From securities litigation reform, class action reform, mutual funds, and international trade, Senator Dodd will now have the opportunity as chairman to set the committee's agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.
And it just happens to turn out that Cassano was right on. On the eve of the passage of the stimulus bill, who tweaks an amendment that a few weeks later allows numerous AIG executives to collect about $160 million in bonuses that would not have been allowed without the last minute change but Chairman Chris Dodd! Not a bad return on an investment: donate $160k, 28 months later get $160 million.
Dodd doesn't deny any of it. Instead, he sends his spokesman to trots out his now-tired line of "it's old news." From FoxNews:
...[DeAngelis] said Dodd's fundraising "has always been above-board, transparent and in accordance with campaign finance rules."
"This is a biased news story that seems to be a blatant attempt to repeat old news," DeAngelis told FoxNews. "The truth is, Senator Dodd has made it clear that he will not accept contributions from PAC's of companies receiveing (federal bailout) money and has also made it clear that if anyone who received these recent bonuses from AIG has donated to his campaigns, he will donate that money to charity."
As if the fact that he got paid off two years ago and that he was "transparently" bought off makes it okay. Just like when he got caught with his sweetheart Countrywide mortgages, he figures that since the unethical behavior was a long time ago and he recently got around to remortgaging, there is no story there.
Frankly, the fact that he doesn't seem to think any of his numerous scandals are newsworthy is nearly as worrisome as the scandals themselves.
And via "A Disgruntled Republican," you might get a chuckle out of this:
Hey, you hear about this? Very strange incident at JFK Airport in New York City today. An AIG executive going through security had to empty out all his pockets. You know what fell out? Senator Chris Dodd." - Jay Leno
Cross-posted at The Artful Doddger.