President Obama addressed the growing controversy over AIG’s retention bonuses this afternoon. Excerpts from his remarks can be found here, but it’s notable that he did not signal much of a change in his administration’s approach.
Obama said he has asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to use the “leverage” of the taxpayers’ investment in AIG to press for the return of the retention bonuses — which is exactly what Congress has been pressing for all weekend.
But using “every legal avenue” to recoup the money may not be enough, as AIG’s lawyers have already advised the company that it’s legally obligated to pay out the bonuses. And Obama said that Geithner would continue “to resolve this matter with the new CEO, Edward Liddy,” who has already made it pretty clear that he wants the bonuses paid. (And at least one senior Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings [MD], is already calling for Liddy’s resignation.)