Glen Greenwald has pulled together the best presentation of this yet, and it's clear that the language exempting bonuses before February 11, 2009 in the stimulus legislation was put in at the behest of the Obama administration.
And the smear against Dodd is also coming from the White House:
Yet now, the Obama administration is feeding reporters the accusation that it was Dodd who was responsible for the exemptions that protected already-vested bonuses. The Times article from Saturday that started the Dodd scandal thus contains this outrageously misleading claim:How in Hades did these "administration officials" think they could get away with it? This is going to be the first real mess that the Obama White House has gotten themselves into, full fledged. Stupid politics, stupid internicene war, stupid all around.The administration official said the Treasury Department did its own legal analysis and concluded that those contracts could not be broken. The official noted that even a provision recently pushed through Congress by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, had an exemption for such bonus agreements already in place.And yet another New York Times article from today ("Fingers Are Pointed Across Washington Over Bonuses") -- this one by David Herszenhorn -- contains this White-House-mimicking, misleading passage:But Mr. Reid mostly ducked a question about whether Democrats had missed an opportunity to prevent the bonuses because of a clause in the economic stimulus bill, part of an amendment by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, that imposed limits on executive compensation and bonuses but made an exception for pre-existing employment contracts.That was the exact provision that Geithner and Summers demanded and that Dodd opposed. And even after Dodd finally gave in to Treasury's demands, he continued to support an amendment from Ron Wyden and Olympia Snowe to impose fines on bailout-receiving companies which paid executive bonuses (which was stripped from the bill at the last minute). But now that Treasury officials are desperate to heap the blame on others for what they did, they're running to gullible, mindless journalists and feeding them the storyline that it was Dodd who was responsible for these provisions. And today, during his White House Press Conference, Robert Gibbs advanced this dishonest attack by repeatedly describing the offending provisions as the "the Dodd compensation requirements."