Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, says the attitude of the entire Treasury Department has to change in the wake of the relevation of the huge bonuses paid to AIG. Harkin, a Democrat, says it’s hard to believe the bonuses were given after the company got government bailout money.
Harkin says it’s outrageous that lawmakers insisted that the workers at Chrysler and G.M. had to take a cut in pay and pension benefits before those companies got any bailout money. But he says those at Wall Street companies didn’t have to give up anything. Harkin says it’s inexcusable ift Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner knew about the bonuses beforehand and did nothing to stop them.
He says Geitner had a responsibility if he knew about the bonuses to let Congress know of the bonuses. Harkin says Geitner has "carefully couched his language" saying he had not been aware of the size of the bonuses and the timing of the payments. Harkin voted against the confirmation of Geitner. He says the Treasury Department doesn’t seem to understand the problem.
"I’m not saying these are bad people, all I’m saying is that they have a different mindset…they have a different mindset from what I think ordinary Americans have in terms of what’s fair, what’s right and what should be done," Harkin says. Harkin said again today that Congress should act to recoup as much of the bonus money as possible.