House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) just finished a press conference on AIG, where he divulged a new wrinkle in the ongoing push to recoup the company’s lavish bonuses.
The U.S. government apparently added “covenants” to its deal with AIG to cede some of its rights as the majority owner of the company, Frank said, adding in plain English: “It’s time to act as the owner.”
Frank declined to elaborate further on the nature of the limits that were set “restraining [the government’s] influence” over AIG, but he said he’d be taking the issue up further with the Obama administration later today.
And he reminded reporters that Congress had no control over the AIG bailout, which was conducted via the Federal Reserve rather than the legislation that set up the TARP program late last year. “Remember, the legislative authority for this is essentially the 1932 statute” that set the Fed’s lending rules, Frank said.
Asked about the idea picking up steam in the Senate as well as the Joint Economic Committee to tax AIG’s bonuses as 100%, Frank demurred to Rep. Charles Rangel’s (D-NY) Ways and Means Committee, which has broad jurisdiction over taxation.
Late Update: Here’s the video of Frank’s comments today.