PEEK

More AIG Outrage: Bonus Details Revealed

If these folks took the money and ran, doesn't it defeat the purpose of a "retention" payment?

What do you know, the AIG story can get worse.

Seventy-three employees were paid more than $1 million in the newly minted bonuses at the insurance giant, American International Group, according to the New York attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo.

The attorney general provided some new details on Tuesday about some of the $160 million in bonuses that A.I.G. paid out last week in a letter sent to Representative Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services.

"A.I.G. made more than 73 millionaires in the unit which lost so much money that it brought the firm to its knees forcing a taxpayer bailout," Mr. Cuomo wrote in the letter. "Something is deeply wrong with this outcome."

Now, some have noted how foolish it is to pay those who failed "retention" bonuses to stick around and clean up the mess they created. But that's what makes today's revelations especially striking -- 11 of the employees who received bonuses of more than $1 million no longer work for the company. One of the 11 received $4.6 million.

If these folks took the money and ran, doesn't it defeat the purpose of a "retention" payment?

Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
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