First Draft: AIG’s Liddy in the hot seat
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.
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