Timmy G must be longing for the days when all he had to answer for was being tricked by Turbo Tax into not paying his taxes. According to Neil Barofsky, TG already has $168 million in AIG retention bonus dirty money on his hands and is on pace to add $198 million more. The rage stems from last March when "a failure of oversight by Treasury" led to multi-million pay days for executives of bailout champion AIG. But that was March when everybody was worried about Dow 5,000, not breaking out the confetti in celebration of Dow 10,000. This was back in the day when some people thought the economy really was going off a cliff. It's not like he really had the time to deal with minor details like who at AIG was being paid what.
Ultimately, Geithner did not learn about the bonuses until March 10, three days before they were paid out, despite running the Treasury Department since January and, before that, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where officials knew about the payments last November.
So he didn't get the memo on the payments. What's the big deal?
"We have a Secretary of the Treasury who failed to know what he should have known, failed to do what he should have done, and has failed to give us transparency," (Rep. Darrell ) Issa said.
"We're hearing that, one, we're not getting transparency and, two, even if we get transparency, if we can't trust the judgment and decisions of the Treasury, then, in fact, we're not going to get the outcome the American people expect us to get. And we're going to continue to have non-essential people paid huge bonuses in many cases that are unnecessary with taxpayer dollars."
Everybody's entitled to a mistake here or there. The important thing is he has the right people at Treasury to make sure the recovery efforts lead us back to growth.
After hearing the watchdog's testimony, the panel's ranking GOP member, Rep. Darrell Issa of California, called for Geithner to come before the committee in an effort to get him to "make a change in direction" at Treasury.
This time, he'll get the memo.
Watchdog: Geithner "Ultimately Responsible" for AIG Bonus Fiasco [ABC]