The Daily Muck

March 19, 2009 5:46 am

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)A group of ten Republican congressmen criticized a Justice Department investigation into Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday. The House judiciary committee accuses Arpaio of using racial profiling to target illegal immigrants. In the letter, Republican congressmen claim that cracking down on police officers could have the effect of “politicizing or chilling immigration efforts.” Arpaio has become a hero of the anti-immigration movement for leading a three-year crackdown on illegals in Arizona, which has included controversial tactics like occasional crime sweeps in mostly Hispanic neighborhoods. (Associated Press)

A federal judge denied bail on Wednesday to Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a former “enemy combatant” who the Bush administration held indefinitely without charges. Al-Marri, the only suspected terrorist detained within the United States, was charged as an al-Qaeda operative who came to the United States to help foreign terrorists. In response to an executive order to review al-Marri’s criminal status, federal officials granted al-Marri permission to be tried in a civilian court in February. (Reuters)

The ACLU asked Attorney General Eric Holder this week to step up the investigation of interrogation tactics used by Bush administration officials during the War on Terror. This was in response to a 2007 report that surfaced this week by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which interviewed detainees who described being tortured during CIA questioning. Holder has described water boarding — one of the techniques reportedly used by CIA officials — as torture, but has not yet endorsed an investigation into torture under the Bush administration. (Washington Post)

Holder also said in a briefing that the U.S. may release detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in an effort to work with foreign allies to bring non-violent detainees home. Holder said that Justice Department officials are reviewing approximately 250 individual cases of detainees to determine who can be released next year. Holder kept open the possibility that the Justice Department would release detainees within the United States. (Wall Street Journal)

Lawyers for Bernard Madoff, who pleaded guilty last week to orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, will appeal a federal judge’s decision to send Madoff directly to jail until his sentencing hearing in June. Madoff is currently detained in a prison in downtown Manhattan but hopes to be released to his multi-million dollar Upper East Side penthouse until he is officially sentenced. (NBC New York)

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