As congress continues to call AIG executives to task in televised hearings, Executive Branch political appointees keep year-end bonuses from Citigroup and that’s perfectly fine since – get this – there is no need to bother them with that trivial stuff since the government “needs the talent we have” and faces “enormous challenges” so they need “all hands on deck.”
Within the last couple of days, the New York Times quietly reported that three political advisers to the White House received year-end bonuses from bailed out Citigroup. From Charlie Savage’s piece in the Times…
Several members of the Obama administration worked for financial companies that received bailout funds, raising the question of whether they should keep any bonus they received.
At least three members of the still-growing team of political appointees, for example, worked at Citigroup and were eligible for year-end bonuses. One of the former Citigroup executives, Michael Froman, the deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, has decided to give his bonus to charity. The White House declined to provide specific details on what the other two — the deputy Secretary of State, Jacob J. Lew, and David A. Lipton, the White House’s senior director for international economics — will do.
Why are they not stunned and “obviously angry” about the bonuses paid? Any demands to return the cash to the government? Have they been targeted for a 90 percent tax on the money?
Jennifer Psaki, a White House spokeswoman, said in a statement that the administration had scrutinized “the employment and compensation history of all our appointees,” but the administration is not forcing people to give up their year-end bonuses.
“While we don’t require former executives to forgo their bonuses when they come to work here, some made the choice to give their bonus or other compensation up,” Ms. Psaki added. “Executives who come to work for this Administration take a major pay cut to do so because they believe in the efforts of the President to change the system–including his long time commitment to stronger regulation of the financial services industry.”
So, if you go to work for the government, you get a pass since you’re doing The One’s work, but if you agree to a $1 salary and only get paid if you stick around and work your tail off to solve a problem in a division of AIG that is slated to be closed, you’re evil.
On today’s Rush Limbaugh show – which I rarely get to listen to these days – he tuned us into an interview with David Axelrod, President Obama’s top political adviser who had no problem with the bonuses. They really need to keep the talent in the White House, it’s really important and they need to have all hands on deck. Here’s the audio.[audio:https://radioviceonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/20090325-limbaugh-axelrod.mp3]
I guess AIG’s problem is not all that important.