Once again, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is coming under fire – this time for comments made during a recent TV interview.
CNBC’s Steve Liesman reveals that on cable’s CNN, Geithner directly addressed the controversy surrounding the payment of bonuses to American International Group employees.
"On Tuesday I was informed about the full scale and scope of these specific bonus problems," Geithner said. "You know, it's my responsibility, I was in a position where I didn't know about these sooner, I take full responsibility for that."
Both lawmakers and the public have expressed outrage over AIG's payment of $165 million in retention bonuses to employees of the unit that made bad bets on toxic mortgages and credit default swaps. In response the House of Representatives passed legislation heavily taxing that money.
But it doesn't end there. Geithner also said the Treasury had worked closely with Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, on crafting legislation that now has gotten Dodd into hot water.
Dodd came under fire over a loophole that ended up in legislation and allowed the roundly condemned bonuses to go forward. A clause in the $787 billion economic stimulus plan approved by Congress in February capped bonuses for executives at companies getting federal bailout aid.
It could be that Geither is more of a behind the scenes guy. CNBC’s Steve Liesman says that’s always been his biggest fear about him – that he's a guy who typically operated out of the spotlight when he was at the New York Fed.
But don't expect any changes on the personnel side of this equation. When asked about calls for his resignation during the TV interview Geithner just brushed the question aside. "I think this just comes with the job," he replied.
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