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It hasn't gotten much attention, but New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said yesterday that he'd publicly release the names of the AIG bonus recipients, reports the New York Times.

Cuomo is investigating the payouts, as well as those made by Merrill Lynch and several other Wall Street firms. He issued a subpoena for the AIG names earlier this week.

His declaration followed the news that a court has ruled that Bank of America, which owns Merrill, must give him the names of the Merrill recipients. That ruling suggests that Cuomo will likely also get the AIG names. AIG lawyers had referred frequently to the Merrill case this week, and had delayed giving Cuomo the names pending the outcome of that case.

Yesterday, AIG CEO Edward Liddy declined to assure Congress he would cooperate fully with Cuomo's probe, citing concern for the physical safety of employees who received bonuses, were their names to be made public.

The attack ads are getting pretty intense in the March 31 special election for Kirsten Gillibrand's old House seat, with the Democrat blasting the Republican for opposing the stimulus bill -- and the Republican launching an ad accusing the Dem of supporting the AIG bonuses.

Here's the new ad from Democratic candidate Scott Murphy, going after Republican Jim Tedisco for saying a few days ago that he would have voted no on the stimulus bill:



"Here's the answer, folks, get ready," we see Tedisco saying in footage from Monday. "No!" The repetition of the "No!" video is reminiscent of all those Americans United For Change ads, taking GOP leaders who say "no" and tying them to Rush Limbaugh.

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While we've all been focused on those AIG bonuses, there's been a major development in the Wall street bonus saga that seemed, a week ago, like the ultimate in outrageous corporate behavior.

A court ruled yesterday that Bank of America will have to turn over to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo the names of the Merrill Lynch employees who received a total of $3-4 billion in bonuses. Bank of America, which since the start of the year has owned Merrill, had been resisting giving Cuomo the information.

Cuomo said he could release the names as soon as today.

Merrill approved the bonuses last December under then-CEO John Thain, on an accelerated schedule, apparently to ensure they went into effect before the firm came under the control of B of A.

It seems Fannie Mae missed the memo: massive bonuses are out of style. The mortgage finance company plans to pay four top executives retention bonuses of $1 million each, more than double the amount paid out last year, according to a document filed with the SEC. Like bonuses paid to executives of Merrill Lynch and AIG, the payments are controversial because Fannie Mae recently received billions of dollars in federal aid and was essentially taken over by the government in September. Fannie Mae said that financial regulators approved the bonuses because keeping top employees "was essential to ensure our viability through 2010." (Associated Press)

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House To Vote On Bonus Tax Today The House of Representatives will vote today on a bill to tax bonuses of over $250,000 at financial institutions receiving bailout money, at a rate of 90 percent. Charlie Rangel explained to reporters: "We figured that the local and state governments would take care of the other 10 percent."

Obama In California -- Will Appear On Jay Leno President Obama is in California today, with a 1:30 p.m. ET tour of the Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center Garage of the Future in Pomona, and a speech there at 1:45 p.m. ET. At 4:10 p.m. ET he will visit the Miguel Contreras Learning Center in Los Angeles, where he will be accompanied by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. At 7:20 p.m. ET, he will tape an appearance on the Jay Leno show. And then tonight he will head back to Washington.

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Who in the Obama Administration pushed to weaken a key anti-bonus provision in the stimulus bill last month? Sen. Chris Dodd, who wrote the provision -- and ultimately agreed to defang it -- isn't saying.

Ever since the AIG story broke, we've heard about the company's binding contracts as a key barrier to the government blocking bonuses to AIG executives.

It turns out that a provision in the stimulus, which passed in February, prohibits the government from blocking any bonuses that were part of contracts agreed to before February 11. That provision has taken on new relevance this week because it would complicate any government effort to claw back the AIG bonuses.

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AIG CEO Edward Liddy told the House Financial Services Committee today that the Federal Reserve had okayed his company's planned bonuses in advance -- and now Time magazine reports that the Treasury Department also knew about the ticking political time-bomb earlier than it has acknowledged.

As the magazine reports:

"Treasury staff was informed about the new bonuses in a Feb. 28 memo that the March 15 [bonus-payment] date was upcoming," a Federal Reserve source tells TIME. A Treasury Department source, speaking on background, confirmed the e-mail memo and its contents, saying, "Everybody knew that [AIG] had a retention issue."


When the debate comes down to a Nixon-style "what did he know and when did he know it," things aren't looking good. And we may have just reached that point for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Racked by negative coverage of its new chairman and its de facto talk-radio leader, the GOP is in need of a cause to rally around -- and it's found one in the storm of public anger over AIG.

Rep. Connie Mack (FL) today became the first Republican to call for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's resignation over the AIG bonuses controversy, a call quickly seconded by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) took the middle ground by warning ominously that Geithner is "on thin ice."

Of course, Republican outrage at Geithner is to be expected. It's the lukewarm support coming from Democrats that should most concern the Obama administration.

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AIG chief Edward Liddy endured his anticipated ritual flaying today by Capitol Hill lawmakers angered by those bonuses. But, as Josh has been writing about over at TPM, there's mounting evidence that some current and former AIG execs could have much more to fear than angry questions from Gary Ackerman when all is said and done.

Since at least June 2008, the Justice Department has been investigating (sub. req.) whether AIG intentionally -- and criminally -- overstated the value of its credit default swaps, hiding its dire position from investors and government regulators. Joseph Cassano -- who during the period at issue ran AIG's financial products unit, AIGFP, which made those disastrous swaps, out of a London office -- has reportedly hired a lawyer in connection with that investigation. Britain's Serious Fraud Office is said to be on the case as well.

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