“The American people were already hopping mad about the bailouts for failed companies like AIG. And now, when they learn that company bigwigs donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians in 2008, their anger is also rightly directed at the political elite.”—ALG President Bill Wilson.
ALG Sharpens Call on Obama and Congress to Return AIG Kickbacks
March 23rd, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today sharpened his call for President Barack Obama and members of Congress to return campaign contributions received from the bailout-recipient firm American International Group, Inc. (AIG).
“There is no question that President Obama must return the $104,332 he received from AIG during the 2008 election cycle,” declared Wilson. “And so must the members of Congress who took massive campaign contributions from cocktail-circuit cronies at the very institutions they were supposed to be overseeing. The American people are outraged—and rightly so.”
According to a Rasmussen Reports poll released today, 67 percent of Americans believe that politicians who received campaign contributions from AIG should return the money.
“The American people were already hopping mad about the bailouts for failed companies like AIG. And now, when they learn that company bigwigs donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians in 2008, their anger is also rightly directed at the political elite,” Wilson added.
Last week, Wilson sent a letter urging President Barack Obama and members of Congress to “return the $4.37 million they received in campaign contributions from AIG since 1989, including the $644,218 they received in 2008.”
According to OpenSecrets.org, AIG gave some $644,218 to candidates for federal office in 2008. According to Wilson's letter, “[I]n return, it received from the Federal Reserve some $173 billion in taxpayer-guaranteed loans. That represents nearly a 27 million percent return on their 2008 'investment' into politicians' loyalty.”
“Any politician that has ever taken even a single penny, not just from AIG, but from all bailout-recipient firms, should return the money immediately,” Wilson insisted. “The politicians got campaign bonuses to turn their back on financial malfeasance.”
“And they should return those bonuses just like they are demanding their corporate cronies do,” Wilson added.
President Obama received $104,332 from AIG in 2008, which is the bulk of the $110,332 in contributions he has ever received from the company.
Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) in 2008 received $103,900 of the $281,038 he has ever received from AIG. In the 2009 $787 billion spending bill recently passed by Congress, Dodd inserted the amendment that guaranteed that bonuses would be paid by adding language to a spending cap that specifically excluded executive bonuses included in contracts.
“Of the 314 members of the Congressional majority who voted to protect the AIG bonuses, a large number of them have taken money from AIG,” Wilson noted. “They took payoffs, short and simple. And now that they've been caught, it's time for them to return their ill-gotten gains.”
At the time of the legislation's passage, Congressional Republicans opposed the speed with which the bill went through Congress, citing that members did not have an adequate amount of time to read it.
“We knew the so-called 'stimulus' was just a grab-bag of special interest handouts and kickbacks. And it is clear that campaign contributions from AIG and other bailout firms are just another example of pay-to-play corruption that is endemic in Washington,” said Wilson.
“And it is poisoning our system of government,” Wilson concluded.
Total AIG campaign contributions, 2008, OpenSecrets.org
Total AIG campaign contributions, 1989-2008, OpenSecrets.org