House Republicans To Force Geithner’s Hand on AIG Negotiations

Have you been wondering whether Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is leaving some key details out in the chronology of his negotiations with AIG CEO Edward Liddy?

Since Geithner knew about Liddy’s plans to pay out the company’s now-infamous bonuses before they became public on Saturday — and since the bonuses have been common knowledge in the media for months — it’s worth asking how directly Treasury was involved in okaying the payouts.

But it’s too bad for Democrats that Republicans are the ones seeking the information.Reps. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) introduced a resolution of inquiry today that would force Geithner to reveal the full extent of his department’s communications with AIG.

The resolution would affect not just talks over bonuses but about the very structure of the Federal Reserve’s investment in the company — which appears to have included built-in limitations on the government’s influence over management.

This is the real deal, folks: resolutions of inquiry (ROIs) are a crucial procedural tool for the minority party to seek information from the executive branch. Democrats did this during the Valerie Plame/Spygate scandal and the debate over the Bush administration’s extraordinary rendition. The Congressional Research Service found in a November study that ROIs oftentimes succeed in prying out information even if they fail on the House floor.

But could Democrats conceivably vote against LaTourette and McCotter’s move?

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