As Transparent as a Cinder Block
President Obama spent his two years on the campaign trail (and the last two months, still on the campaign trail) talking about many ideas to bring “Change” around. One of his biggest pet ideas is to bring about transparency throughout the government. You can read about just one instance as such here.
Throughout all of this talk of transparency, one place where I am extremely puzzled is AIG, Tim Geithner, Chris Dodd, and the entirety of the Administration. What happened here that has created this very covert need to protect the individuals at AIG? Yes – it is understandable that the company is important – that AIG as a corporation cannot fail. But why the individuals?
Think back to the many developments over the last couple weeks…
–In the AIG Bailout, language was originally written to explicitly prohibit government (taxpayer) money from going to pay employee bonuses, regardless of rationale for the bonuses. Constitutional and contract lawyers have all confirmed that AIG employees would have no sustainable argument for still getting their bonus money – the government has ever right to deny those bonuses, based both on law and precedent.
–At some point, somewhere along the line, the administration went back to the Senate and told them to soften the language that essentially would allow the bonuses to occur without penalty. Chris Dodd is very confused by this – it did happen, it did not happen. He did know, he didn’t know. He was involved, he wasn’t involved.
–Tim Geithner, on the hotseat in Congress on more than one occasion has changed his story about when he found out about the bonuses, his awareness of legal/contractual issues with the AIG Employees, and whether or not he was involved in the bailout language issue.
–The House, in an effort to recoup the money, did what Democrats do best and passed a Bill to tax the bonus-getters to bring the money back to the government. Some Congressmen (and -women) suggested a 100% tax. They ended up agreeing on taxing the bonus money (with endless caveats) at 90%. The Senate was looking at a little less – 70%. Now – our most Liberal, tax-happy President has publicly announced he will not support this tax bill AND he still stands behind Tim Geithner 100% and tells us Tim Geithner is doing a great job.
What I want to know is, who is in bed with whom? Is it Obama himself? Maybe Emanuel? Axelrod? Who knows. Somebody in the administration has an inappropriate relationship with someone either in AIG or another of the banks, and they are doing their best to keep it hidden.
What aggravates this even further is that, when pressed, the administration (a.k.a. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs) can’t answer any questions directly, as if he needs to go back to the play book and remember what their story is so he can get it right. Wouldn’t the truth be very easy to recount, since it’s what actually happened. This was most clear in the Friday, March 20 press briefing, transcript available:here.
So please, in line with your claims of “transparency,” Mr. President, who is involved in the relationship with the banking industry? Why are you so clandestinely protecting the bonus money going to individuals?