So why did Dodd say he was was responsible for adding the bonus loophole into the stimulus package that permitted AIG and other companies that received bailout funds to pay bonuses?
Well that’s how the headlines read. The clip of him I saw on CNN he said that he wrote the amendment as it was because the White House pressured him to do it.
Good question. Here's an update to the original post where the writer responds to emailers asking the same thing.
UPDATE III: I'm receiving email regarding the remarks Dodd made today on CNN in which he stated that, at the White House's insistence and over his objections, he agreed to include the pre-February, 2009 carve-out in the stimulus bill. Some of these emailers have suggested that Dodd's comments are at odds with what I wrote. They quite plainly are not.
The narrative I wrote here (and which Hamsher wrote in her post) both included exactly that sequence:
That was the exact provision that Geithner and Summers demanded and that Dodd opposed. And even after Dodd finally gave in to Treasury's demands, he continued to support an amendment from Ron Wyden and Olympia Snowe to impose fines on bailout-receiving companies which paid executive bonuses."
I explicitly wrote that it was Dodd who, after arguing vehemently against this provision, ultimately agreed to its inclusion. And the statement from Dodd's office that I quoted above included the same series of events ("Because of negotiations with the Treasury Department and the bill Conferees, several modifications were made, including adding the exemption"). That's exactly what Dodd said today on CNN.
The point was -- and is -- that Dodd was pressured to put that carve-out in at the insistence of Treasury officials (whose opposition meant that Dodd's two choices were the limited compensation restriction favored by Geithner/Summers or no compensation limits at all), and Dodd did so only after arguing in public against it. To blame Dodd for provisions that the White House demanded is dishonest in the extreme, and what Dodd said today on CNN about the White House's advocacy of this provision confirms, not contradicts, what I wrote.
Dodd acknowledged his role in the change after a Treasury Department official told CNN the administration pushed for the language.
Both Dodd and the official, who asked not to be named, said it was because administration officials were afraid the government would face numerous lawsuits without the new language. . . .
I agreed reluctantly," Dodd said. "I was changing the amendment because others were insistent."
It was the Treasury Department -- at least according to a Treasury official granted anonymity for the extremely compelling reason that he "asked not to be named" -- that pushed for the carve-out, and did so over Dodd's objections. That was the point from the beginning. That's precisely what made it so outrageous that the administration was trying to blame Dodd for a provision which Obama's own Treasury officials advocated, pushed for and engineered.
Anyone who doubts Dodd's opposition should just go read the above-excerpted articles which reported contemporaneously about the dispute Dodd was having with the White House over the scope of the compensation limits. For obvious reasons, those real-time accounts are far more instructive about what really happened than what the parties are saying now that everyone is trying desperately to avoid blame for the politically toxic AIG bonus payments.