There has been a lot of fury expended over the past few days about the bonuses AIG executives in the derelict Financial Products division received, and rightfully so. However, Fox Business has published what it considers a scandalous story. According to them, Chris Dodd inserted language into the stimulus package bill that protected these bonuses.
While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009” -- which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are now seeking to tax.Of course, this is going all over the conservative blogosphere.
Yet funnily enough, the actual text of Dodd's amendment concerning executive compensation doesn't have this February 11th exception in the text. In other words, the Fox Business smear merchants didn't bother to do any basic research. They knew Dodd had submitted this section through amendment, and there the language is now, so Dodd must have put it in there, right?
Well, no. Actually Dodd's amendment was to another amendment to the main bill, Amendment 98. Amendment 98 was a substitute amendment, so called because it wipes out the language of the bill or amendment it is "amending" and substitutes its own. Dodd's amendment to #98 did pass, but the original amendment was withdrawn later on.
The final bill passed by the Senate on February 10 was the text of another substitute amendment (#570) submitted by Republican senator Susan Collins of Maine. It did have the language of Dodd's Amendment 354, but the grandfather clause currently giving Dodd-haters the vapors is still not in there.
That language was not inserted until the House-Senate conference to reconcile differences between the bills. This was the next day, February 11, 2009, and funnily enough, that was the date used to grandfather these bonuses in. And since Dodd was not one of the conferees working out these details, it remains to be seen just how he was supposed to have inserted this language.
The actual conferees were, from the House: Obey, Rangel, Waxman, Lewis (CA), and Camp -- and from the Senate: Inouye, Baucus, Reid, Cochran, Grassley. Of these, four are Republicans -- Grassley, Cochran, Lewis, and Camp.
There is no indication whatsoever that Chris Dodd had anything to do with this clause. Consider this right wing lie debunked.