White House Foists Bonus Blame on Dodd

Guilty Obama officials seek to shift AIG fault, press plays along

By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User

Posted Mar 18, 2009 9:31 AM CDT

(Newser) – The White House is trying to pass the AIG bonus blame to Sen. Chris Dodd, pointing to his hand in an executive-compensation clause inserted into the stimulus bill—and journalists are letting it happen, writes Glenn Greenwald in Salon. Actually, the bonuses were only possible because the Obama administration insisted that compensation limits not be retroactive, and dragged an unhappy Dodd along.

“Dodd was the one fighting against the White House in order to apply the prohibition to all bonus payments,” writes Greenwald. Rather than question the administration’s bogus claim, the New York Times has let itself be spun. “The only point here is that what the White House and many journalists are claiming simply did not happen. They're just inventing a false history in order to blame the politically hapless Dodd for what Geithner and Summers did.”

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, right, and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, left, await President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 6, 2009.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, right, and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, left, await President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, left, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, right, wait for President Barack Obama to arrive, Feb. 23, 2009.
National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, left, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, right, wait for President Barack Obama to arrive, Feb. 23, 2009.   (AP Photo)
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., listens to testimony by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Capitol Hill last week.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., listens to testimony by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Capitol Hill last week.   (AP Photo)
A man enters an AIG office building Monday, March 16, 2009 in New York.
A man enters an AIG office building Monday, March 16, 2009 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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This is working because, as the White House well knows, Dodd is very politically vulnerable . He is a major target of the Right because of his genuinely questionable involvement with various banks.
- Glenn Greenwald

The exemption for already existing compensation agreements—the exact provision that is now protecting the AIG bonus payments—was inserted at the White House's insistence and over Dodd's objections.
- Glenn Greenwald

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