Poor Chri$ Dodd just can’t seem to stay out of the news these days. Not only did Pacman like taking the corporate ca$h from Wall Street stalwarts like AIG it seems the execs at AIG circa 2006 decided he needed their personal help as well so the email blast at AIG financial products went out. The Washington Times has the story:
As Democrats prepared to take control of Congress after the 2006 elections, a top boss at the insurance giant American International Group Inc. told colleagues that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd was seeking re-election donations and he implored company executives and their spouses to give.
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, has lost some political standing heading into re-election because of his ties to American International Group Inc.
The message in the Nov. 17, 2006, e-mail from Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executive, was unmistakable: Mr. Dodd was “next in line” to be chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the insurance industry, and he would “have the opportunity to set the committee’s agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.
“Given his seniority in the Senate, he will also play a key role in the Democratic Majority’s leadership,” Mr. Cassano wrote in the message, obtained by The Washington Times.
Mr. Dodd’s campaign quickly hit pay dirt, collecting more than $160,000 from employees and their spouses at the AIG Financial Products division (AIG-FP) in Wilton, Conn., in the days before he took over as the committee chairman in January 2007. Months later, the senator transferred the donations to jump-start his 2008 presidential bid, which later failed.
Now, two years later, Mr. Dodd has emerged as a central figure in the government’s decision to let executives at the now-failing AIG collect more than $218 million in bonuses, according to the Connecticut attorney general – even as the company was receiving billions of dollars in assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He acknowledged that he slipped a provision into legislation in February that authorized the bonuses……….
Despite all the claims that Washington has changed, the tale of Mr. Dodd’s lucrative political ties to AIG is a fresh reminder that special interests continue to use donations and fundraising to sow good will with powerful lawmakers like Mr. Dodd.
“The message seems clear: The boss says I want you to support the senator,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which studies political fundraising and ethics. “And I think the employees got the message.”…..
Mr. Dodd’s plight also signals that the actions taken by lawmakers after they receive big political donations are being scrutinized by an increasingly distrustful public. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found Mr. Dodd lagging 43 percent to 42 percent behind former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, a Republican who plans to challenge Mr. Dodd, in a hypothetical race.
“The concern and the question is whether AIG was purchasing kid-glove treatment from their home state senator – from the senator chairing the committee charged with overseeing their industry,” Ms. Krumholz said………
AIG’s employees have been big financial backers of Mr. Dodd. Over his career, Mr. Dodd has collected $238,418 from AIG employees and their spouses, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Cassano has donated $7,118 to Mr. Dodd’s campaigns…………….
Watchdog groups say Mr. Dodd’s close association with AIG – over his career, the company’s employees have been one of his largest donor bases – raises questions about his and his committee’s ability to provide objective oversight. It was the $218 million in bonuses paid by AIG that became the focus of public outrage, igniting a torrent of criticism and congressional hearings in the wake of federal loan packages.
I’ll add as a long time observer of the financial markets I have absolutely no confidence Dodd and his cohorts on the Senate Banking Committee will do anything truly meaningful (blowing hot air does not qualify), they were all pretty much bought and paid for years ago.
So we are more than amused to see this Dear Barack letter from Chris Dodd and Barney Frank (h/t Tyler Durden). We do think Rep Frank is somewhat sincere but Dodd? Our local crackhead isn’t that stupid…..
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