Obama/Dems to Be Blamed for AIG Bonus Scandal?

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Mar 18, 2009 9:22 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2009/01/14/PH2009011401686.jpg"AIG is Obama's 'Katrina' -- in terms of an example of government's failure -- and the failure of presidential leadership."

... That's according to former Ohio Secretary of State and Family Research Council Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell.

Clearly the AIG bonus story has spurred a huge populist backlash -- building on angst which had previously only been manifest during the Santelli rant -- and subsequent tea parties.

But anger over the AIG bailout appears to be just now reaching fever pitch, and it is starting to look like the bonus scandal may be laid solely at the feet of Democrats (they are quickly moving to get tough with AIG, forcing people to pay back the bonus money, but it is becoming clear that some key Democratic leaders were aware of the bonuses before they were paid).

And because Republicans -- who do not control the presidency or either house of congress -- were excluded from the hastily-written stimulus bill, they can hardly be blamed for the bonuses being paid.

President Obama, of course, promised during the campaign that he wouldn't sign anything unless it had been online for five days. "If this had been followed, business experts would have had time to review the bill, and we could have, perhaps, avoided this catastrophe. But President Obama broke his word, and now we are all stuck with paying this bill," added Blackwell.

Blackwell believes the AIG bonus scandal has the potential to devastate Obama's first term, just as President Bush's mishandling of Katrina devastated his second term. "And just as President Bush had his point man, Michael Brown, President Obama has his point-man, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, said Blackwell.

But Geithner is not the only Democrat in hot water. Senator Chris Dodd is now front-and-center in this debate. Appearing on CNN today, Dodd admitted to having had a more intimate involvement in the AIG bonuses than he had previously let on. In fact, he added the bonus loophole into the stimulus package.

According to the AP:

Over the years, Dodd has been the top recipient of campaign contributions from AIG employees. During 2007-2008, when he ran for president, he received nearly $104,000 from AIG employees and their families, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that monitors money in politics.

Interestingly, Dodd seems to be blaming Geithener's Treasury Dept for the bonuses.

Don't count on this to go away any time soon...