Tester blasts A.I.G. for using bailout money for bonuses

Without taxpayers, A.I.G. executives would be ‘on the street,’ Senator says

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today blasted insurance giant A.I.G. for its recent plan to award $165 million in bonuses to employees, even after the struggling company accepted a $173 billion taxpayer-funded bailout.

A.I.G. has claimed that the bonuses are written into the company’s employment contracts, but Tester shot down the excuse as “incredibly unacceptable.”

“What would those contracts have been if the taxpayers wouldn’t have bailed them out?” Tester said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing today on Capitol Hill.  “That company would have been broke.  Those people would be part of the 600,000 unemployed that occur in this country every month.  And they would be on the street.”

Tester has been forcefully critical of taxpayer funded bailouts.  He is the only Democrat in the U.S. Senate who voted against both the Wall Street bailout and the bailout of the auto industry.

“If this is the way Wall Street and A.I.G. and all the others continue to do business, we can’t help them with any amount of money,” Tester said.  Without a public bailout, he added, A.I.G. “would be out of business.”

“They need to understand that the only reason they have a job is because of the taxpayers,” Tester said.

Tester says if the issue were to go to court, the case would force A.I.G. to make public the names of A.I.G. executives receiving bonuses.