Outrage continues over AIG's bailout bonuses - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Outrage continues over AIG's bailout bonuses

WASHINGTON. - President Obama says he's outraged and he's not alone. Insurance giant AIG took a $170 billion bailout from the government and decided to hand out millions in bonuses.

The insurance giant has a lot of explaining to do and will get its chance tomorrow on Capitol Hill.
The debate over AIG's generosity is boiling over on Capitol Hill.

Americans are up in arms over AIG's decision to hand out big bonuses months after taking a huge handout from Uncle Sam.

President Obama says he's angry, too.

President Obama said "I mean how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?"

The White House says it's trying to see whether the bonuses can be stopped even though they're written into existing contracts.

White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs said "the President has asked Secretary Geithner and members of the Administration to exhaust all legal remedies in looking backwards to see what steps could be taken to block these bonuses."

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo told CNBC the government may have a decent case.

Cuomo said "if it wasn't for the government coming in, it would have been bankrupt and the contract wouldn't be worth the paper it was written on."

AIG says the bonuses are needed to retain top talent.

Congressional Democrats disagree.

Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings said "we learned that $57 million of these dollars are going to employees who will be terminated."

Republicans say it's a cautionary tale, what happens when congress tries to do too much, too quickly.

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn said "the danger is, is are we gonna be making those same decisions at GM and Chrysler and every other business we end up getting our hands a hold of to try to save it."

Meanwhile, AIG's CEO is expected on Capitol Hill to face tough questions from lawmakers and an angry nation.

CEO Edward Liddy is certain to face a grilling tomorrow but legal experts say it will take more than tough talk to break AIG's contracts.
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