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FIRST ON CNBC: CNBC TRANSCRIPT: CNBC'S MARIA BARTIROMO INTERVIEWS SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY TODAY ON "CLOSING BELL WITH MARIA BARTIROMO"

WHEN: TODAY, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18TH

WHERE: CNBC'S "CLOSING BELL WITH MARIA BARTIROMO"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with Senator Richard Shelby today on CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo."

All references must be sourced to CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo."

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BARTIROMO: CRITICISM IS GROWING OVER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S HANDLING OF THE BONUSES AT AIG AND THE FINANCIAL CRISIS IN GENERAL. MUCH OF IT AIMED AT TREASURY SECRETARY TIM GEITHNER AND MUCH OF IT COMING FROM THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE. MY NEXT GUEST IS ONE OF THE MOST VOCAL CRITICS IN A FIRST ON CNBC INTERVIEW I AM JOINED RIGHT NOW BY SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY. SENATOR SHELBY GOOD TO HAVE YOU ON THE PROGRAM.

SHELBY: GOOD TO HAVE YOU ON THE PROGRAM

BARTIROMO: I HAVE IN FRONT OF ME LETTERS THAT YOU HAVE SENT TO ED LIDDY THE CEO & CHAIRMAN OF AIG YOU'RE SENDING A LETTER TO SECRETARY GEITHNER SENDING A LETTER TO BEN BERNANKE AND PRESIDENT OBAMA CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE JIST OF THESE LETTERS

SHELBY: WELL THE JIST OF THE LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT, THE FED CHAIRMAN AND THE TREASURY IS BASICALLY WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED THE NIGHT THEY WERE PUTTING THE FINAL TOUCHES ON THE SO-CALLED STIMULUS BILL BECAUSE WE'VE LEARNED TODAY THAT THERE WAS A LANGUAGE IN THERE TO GRANDFATHER SO TO SPEAK THOSE BONUSES THAT LATER WERE PAID TO THE AIG PEOPLE AND HOW MUCH OTHERS THAT WE DON'T KNOW YOU KNOW THIS IS A BILL THAT WAS VOTED ON I VOTED AGAINST IT OTHERS VOTED AGAINST IT A LOT OF PEOPLE DIDNT KNOW WHAT WAS IN IT AND WE'RE FINDING IT OUT DAY BY DAY THE LETTER TO LIDDY WAS FOR DOCUMENTS YOU KNOW TO TRY AND GET COPIES OF WHAT AGREEMENTS THEY HAD WITH THEIR EMPLOYEES LEGAL AND SO FORTH

BARTIROMO: WELL CLEARLY SENATOR YOU KNOW THE ACQUISITION OF AIG 79% BY THE GOVERNMENT WAS DONE FAST AND IT WAS DONE SOME MIGHT SAY IN A PANIC MODE DO YOU THINK A STRING SHOULD HAVE BEEN ATTACHED LIKE SINCE THE GOVERNMENT OWNS 79% OF THE COMPANY THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE IN CHARGE OF PAYING OUT BONUSES

SHELBY: WELL IF I OWNED 79% OR 80% OF SOMETHING OF ANY COMPANY I WOULD BE IN CHARGE OR MY PEOPLE IN CHARBE BUT THE GOVERNMENT I THINK IS SITTING ON THE SIDELINES I DON'T BELIEVE THEY ARE PROTECTING THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS MONEY THE INVESTMENTS LIKE THEY SHOULD I DON'T BELIEVE THERE IS DILIGENCE WE THOUGHT THERE WOULD BE I THOUGHT IT WAS PANIC TO BEGIN WITH I OPPOSED IT TO BEGIN WITH NOW WE'RE FINDING OUT A LOT OF THE DETAILS JUST DON'T MAKE SENSE.

BARTIROMO: HOW IS SECRETARY GEITHNER DOING IN YOUR VIEW?

SHELBY: WELL YOU KNOW THERE'S AN OLD SAYING THAT COMPIDENCE BRINGS CONFIDENCE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE I DON'T SEE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN THE BANKING SYSTEM THAT THE TREASURY IS HANDLING, THE FEDS HANDLING OF THE BANKING SYSTEM OVERALL MAYBE IT WILL CHANGE BUT I HAVEN'T SEEN A LOT OF IT YET BUT I THINK THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO WORK FAST

BARTIROMO: WELL DID YOU VOTE TO GET HIM CONFIRMED?

SHELBY: I DID VOTE FOR HIM BECAUSE I KNEW HIM BUT

BARTIROMO: BECAUSE YOU KNEW HIM OR BECAUSE YOU EXPECTED HAD EXPECTATIONS OF THE JOB HE WOULD DO

SHELBY: I HAD HIGH I THOUGHT HE WOULD DO BETTER THAN HE'S DONE THUS FAR I TOLD HIM THAT I HAD RESERVATIONS ABOUT VOTING FOR HIM BUT THAT I WOULD VOTE FOR HIM BUT HAD GREAT RESERVATIONS AND I HAD SOME HOPES NOT HIGH HOPES I HAVEN'T SEEN A LOT OF THINGS CHANGE SINCE HE'S BEEN IN TREASURY

BARTIROMO: HAVE YOU ASKED HIM TO STEP DOWN?

SHELBY: NO I HAVEN'T ASKED HIM TO STEP DOWN I WAS ASKED I SAID YOU KNOW HE WORKS FOR THE PRESIDENT THAT'S UP TO THE PRESIDENT RIGHT NOW BUT I DON'T HAVE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE AGAIN IN WHAT TREASURY'S DOING NOW IN DEALING WITH OUR BANKING SYSTEM OVERALL OUR BONUSES EVERYTHING ELSE THAT MERRILL LYNCH WAS INVOLVED IN THAT AIG WAS INVOLVED IN AND ALSO AGAIN I QUESTION A LOT OF THE ROLE OF THE FED HERE TOO

BARTIROMO: WELL WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DONE AT THIS POINT SENATOR?

SHELBY: WELL FIRST THING I WANT TO KNOW IS WHAT THE TRUTH IS LET'S FIND THOSE DOCUMENTS LET'S SHARE THEM WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IF THEY'VE GOT BINDING CONTRACTS THAT'S ONE THING AND IF YOU KNEW THEY HAD IF THE TREASURY SECRETARY KNEW THEY HAD THESE BINDING CONTRACTS SEVERAL WEEKS AGO WHEN HE GAVE OK'ED THE ADDITIONAL MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WHY DIDN'T GE PUT SOME STRINGS ON IT THEN AND WHAT WILL HE DO IN THE FUTURE THERE'S A LOT MORE MONEY SUPPOSED TO COME

BARTIROMO: IF NOT TREASURY SECRETARY TIM GEITHNER WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN THAT ROLE?

SHELBY: WELL I'M NOT CHOOSING CABINET MEMBERS TODAY LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS BUT I'D SAY THERE'S NOT A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN WHAT HE IS DOING YET IN TREASURY

BARTIROMO: AND CONFIDENCE IN THE FEDERAL RESERVE YOU ALSO MENTIONED THAT WAS SOMEWHAT SHAKEY FROM YOUR STANDPOINT TODAY WE SSAW A PRETTY GOOD MARKET REACTION AS FAR AS THE FED'S ACTION TODAY PRETTY EXTRAORDINARY BUYING THAT AGENCY PAPER A TRILLION DOLLARS OF NEW INJECTION INTO THE ECONOMY WERE YOU PLEASED BY THAT

SHELBY: WELL THAT WAS JUST A TRANSFER OF PAPER FROM THE TREASURY TO THE FEDERAL RESERVE YOU KNOW WHAT THAT IS AND THE FEDERAL RESERVE IS AS REMEMBER THEY WERE THE REGULATOR OF THE BIGGEST BANK WHO GOT IN THE DEEPEST TROUBLE

BARTIROMO: SENATOR HOW MUCH LONGER ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE TIM GEITHNER IN TERMS OF WANTING CHANGE?

SHELBY: WELL LET'S SEE WHAT HE DOES LET'S SEE HOW HE HANDLES THE INFORMATION THAT WE'RE ALL SEEKING LET'S SEE WHAT HE SAYS IN THE FUTURE

BARTIROMO: WHAT'S THE FUTURE HOW MUCH LONGER ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE HIM?

SHELBY: WELL I DON'T PUT DATES ON ANYTHING BUT I AM LOOKING FOR SUBSTANATIVE CHANGES

BARTIROMO: SENATOR SHELBY NICE TO HAVE YOU ON THE PROGRAM

SHELBY: THANK YOU MARIA





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