Top Executives at Bailed-Out Companies Keep Getting the Big Bucks, with a Wink from Treasury Dept.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
(graphic: John Sherifius)

Executives of corporations bailed out by the U.S. government received more than $6 million in raises last year, despite guidelines by the Department of the Treasury that are supposed to limit such salaries.


The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Assets Relief Program (SIGTAR) accused Treasury officials of ignoring the guidelines and approving raises sought by the companies.


An extra $6.2 million was awarded to just 18 employees at General Motors (GM), Ally Financial and American International Group (AIG), which received a total of more than $250 billion in bailout funds. This included a $1 million raise for the chief executive of an AIG division, Chartis, and $200,000 for an employee of Ally’s Residential Capital—which filed for bankruptcy only weeks later.


In 2012, the Office of the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation approved pay packages of $3 million or more for 54% of the 69 top executives of AIG, GM and Ally.


Christy Romero, special inspector general for TARP, criticized the Treasury Department for not holding the line on executive compensation. “Treasury cannot look out for taxpayers’ interests if it continues to rely to a great extent on the pay proposed by companies that have historically pushed back on pay limits,” Romero said in her report (pdf).


She also accused Treasury of not making “meaningful reform to its processes.”


“Lacking criteria and an effective decision-making process, Treasury risks continuing to award executives of bailed-out companies excessive cash compensation without good cause,” she added.


Patricia Geoghegan, Treasury’s acting special master for compensation, rejected Romero’s conclusions, saying the audit was filled with inaccuracies and mischaracterizations of data provided to the inspector general.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Treasury Approved Big Pay Raises at Bailed-Out AIG, Ally and GM, Report Says (by  Danielle Douglas, Washington Post)

Treasury Continues Approving Excessive Pay for Top Executives at Bailed-Out Companies (Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program) (pdf)

Treasury Dept. Fails to Implement Two-Thirds of Post-Bailout Recommendations (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

The Bailouts 4 Years Later: Were They Worthwhile Investments? (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Public Thinks Bailouts Will Change Wall Street, CEOs Say No: Robert Reich (AllGov)


Danu 10 years ago
To be fair it does say that the executives' bsunoes included "professional money management," presumably provided by the banks themselves, so that 1.6 billion would probably buy you a KFC extra value meal and a couple loosies at your local bodega at this point. On the other hand these guys were pretty well connected, so they might have had access to some sweet Madoff funds. All I want out of this disaster is for us to get to stop pretending that Wall Street represents the smartest of the smart and the best of the best. There are a few geniuses and then many thousand overpaid yutzes. Wall Street guys are one of the worst aspects of living in New York and their arrogance is absolutely unbearable. Congratulations, you have devoted your life to making money by working 80 hours at a soulless corporation fleecing people who provide actual value to society. Stop being so smug about it, especially when you suck so bad that all the goddamned banks need to be bailed out so they can survive.

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