January 29th, 2013

Guess Who Was Behind Excessive Pay Packages at Some Bailed-Out Companies

The Treasury department:

A government auditor harshly criticized the Treasury Department for approving “excessive” pay packages for top executives at three companies that received large government bailouts.

Christy Romero, the special inspector general overseeing the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, criticized the Treasury for approving pay raises at General Motors Co., Ally Financial Inc. and American International Group Inc.

The report released Monday was critical of the Treasury’s special master overseeing executive pay at companies that got very large bailouts: Cash salaries of $450,000 or more were approved for 94 percent of the top 25 employees each at AIG, GM and Ally.

"While taxpayers struggle to overcome the recent financial crisis and look to the U.S. government to put a lid on compensation for executives of firms whose missteps nearly crippled the U.S. financial system, the U.S. Department of the Treasury continues to allow excessive executive pay," the report said.

The executives at GM, Ally and AIG “continue to rake in Treasury-approved multimillion-dollar pay packages that often exceed guidelines” previously announced, the report said.

AIG repaid its government bailout in December and is no longer subject to the pay restrictions. Initially seven companies — including Chrysler Group LLC, Chrysler Financial, Citigroup Inc., and Bank of America — were covered by the restrictions.

Patricia Geoghegan, the Treasury’s “pay czar,” agreed to shift more pay away from longer-term incentive pay. She removed long-term restricted stock for senior executives, including the CEOs of AIG, GM and Ally. In total, she removed long-term restricted stock from 24 of the 34 employees’ pay packages and for all but one of the 24 employees, replaced it with stock salary, as requested by the companies.

In total, she approved pay packages worth $5 million or more for 23 percent of the top 25 employees at AIG, GM, and Ally — nine at AIG, three at GM and four at Ally.

Barack Obama, it should be remembered, has gotten a lot of populist mileage out of his criticism of excessive pay packages. Funnily, however, I don’t recall him blaming Tim Geithner in any of his speeches denouncing large executive payouts.

January 14th, 2013

Reviewing the Bidding

So, let me see if I have this straight.

Leon Panetta—a man—is going to leave his position as secretary of defense. Barack Obama wants him to be replaced by Chuck Hagel—a man.

Michael Morell—a man—is going to leave his position as acting director of central intelligence. Barack Obama wants him to be replaced by John Brennan—a man.

Hillary Clinton—a woman—is going to leave her position as secretary of state. Barack Obama wants her to be replaced by John Kerry—a man.

Timothy Geithner—a man—is going to leave his position as secretary of the treasury. Barack Obama wants him to be replaced by Jack Lew—a man.

Since making Jack Lew—a man—the secretary of the treasury would require him to leave his current position as chief of staff, Barack Obama will have to nominate someone else for that position. According to the New York Times, the choice is down to Ronald Klain and Denis McDonough—both men. The Times further notes the following:

What is striking, especially at a time when Mr. Obama has come under criticism for the scarcity of women among his top officials, is that both the deputy chiefs of staff to Mr. Lew are well-regarded women and neither seems to have been considered for promotion.

More here. Don’t look now, but when it comes to personnel choices in the Obama administration, there appears to be some kind of war on women going on. I wonder—as others have—if at some point, the president is going to issue a call for binders.


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