First Draft: AIG’s Liddy in the hot seat

March 18, 2009

The main event in Wednesday’s Washington circus has to be at the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, where AIG chief executive Edward Liddy is set to testify this morning. The title of the hearing — “America International Group’s (AIG) Impact on the Global Economy: Before, During and After Federal Intervention” — doesn’t quite convey the catcalls and outrage expected. The $165 million in bonuses to AIG execs is the flash point, even though the company could get more than a $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money.

HONGKONG/Perhaps seeking to pre-empt the hearing, or at least soften the reception he’ll get, Liddy wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, letting readers know that “I am mindful of the outrage of the American public and of the president’s call for a more restrained compensation system. I am also mindful that every decision we make at AIG has consequences for the American taxpayer.”

Liddy isn’t the only one who could feel the heat. Scott Polakoff, the acting director of the Office of Thrift Supervision and Joel Ario, representing the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and Rodney Clark, managing director for insurance ratings at Standard & Poor’s, are all scheduled to testify.

With the big action on Capitol Hill, President Barack Obama is headed out of town. After a morning meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute on immigration reform, the president flies to California.

Beyond the Beltway, lots of early media attention on actress Natasha Richardson, injured in a skiing accident in Canada, and Nadya Suleman, known in tabloid-speak as Octo-Mom, who brought the first of her eight babies home amid a flurry of flashing cameras.

Photo credit: AIG Chief Executive Edward Liddy at Hong Kong business gathering, December 11, 2008. REUTERS/Woody Wu


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

all a smoke screen,it would have been more revealing if chris dodd had been sitting next to him,but that would never have happened, or this inquiry would never have taken place.this has already been rehearsed can you imagine if he was asked why they donated so much money to obama?but like it or not you have to admire obama looking after his friends ,the fact that they are intending to allow acorn to have a active roll in the 2010 censers,confirms this guy is from the extreme left ,and to his credit, behind all the fan fare and the leno appearances,he is going to stick to his idealism.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I am sitting here watching these stupid elected representatives showboat and don’t understand what the retention bonuses are all about.

The folks that got these bonuses actually did the work to reduce the AIG risk and risk to our entire financial system.

Where can I get a list of these committee members and express my outrage about their work???

Posted by Duane B | Report as abusive

I do not think these folks have a clue what it is like to be “average” in America. I think we should put them all in a room, AIG, the BANKs, members of Congress. Then show them the NBC good news feature. It is about doing something “GOOD” for others. It is something these fellows with $$$ and power, know nothing about. Without a tax deduction, no big formal party, just for the sake of doing good. Show it over and over and see …… if they can get a clue.

Posted by carl | Report as abusive