The closest we’ve come to a pitchfork moment in this whole economic crisis was the last time AIG tried to shower its employees with bonuses. You may recall that the financial giant was rewarded with $180 billion in federal funds after losing more money than any company ever did before and helping to ruin the world economy. Well, they’re at it again.
AIG is asking the government’s permission to hand out more bonuses—not that it has to get an OK. Apparently the company is free to do as it pleases with this particular batch of payments, which are much smaller than those in the previous PR debacle.
AIG doesn’t actually need the permission of Kenneth R. Feinberg, who President Obama appointed last month to oversee the compensation of top executives at seven firms that have received large federal bailouts. But officials at AIG, whose federal rescue package stands at $180 billion, have been reluctant to move forward without political cover from the government.
“Anytime we write a check to anybody” it is highly scrutinized, said an AIG official, who declined to speak on the record because the negotiations with Feinberg are ongoing. “We would want to feel comfortable that the government is comfortable with what we are doing.”