17 TARP Banks Paid Execs Billions: Pay Czar Payments would have violated later guidelines By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Jul 23, 2010 11:23 AM CDT 15 comments Comments Kenneth Feinberg testifies on Capitol Hill in this July 22, 2010 file photo. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Newser) – Seventeen banks gave their top executives $1.6 billion in lavish payments while they were receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded bailouts, the Treasury Department's compensation chief said today. Kenneth Feinberg said he did not have the authority to ask the firms to repay the money handed out during the financial crisis. But he said they should develop new rules that would allow them to slash compensation payments in future crises. "If the company's board of directors has identified that the firm is in a crisis situation, the compensation committee would have the authority to restructure, reduce or cancel pending payments to executives," according to a fact sheet Feinberg released. Congress enacted pay limits for firms receiving government assistance in February 2009. The payments Feinberg identified were made before that, but would have violated the law's guidelines. For more information about Feinberg's review, click here.