Suddenly, Sen. Chris Dodd is the face of the AIG bonus flap.
He knew about the language which allowed for those bonuses, added into the original amendment because of administration fears of possible lawsuits.
Just yesterday, Dodd was saying that he didn’t know how the language got there. Now it appears that he did know.
So why didn’t he say? Why pretend that it simply appeared out of nowhere?
What frustrates me is that Dodd probably did the right thing. He swallowed his pride and added the language because the administration asked him to. They didn’t want to be exposed to the risk of an endless, expensive series of lawsuits over contracts which specified that the bonuses were to be paid. If Dodd hadn’t gone along, the amendment–which prevents future bonuses from being paid out, with the exemption of those already under contract–wouldn’t have gone through at all.
But Dodd got caught in the furious maelstrom of outrage and bitter frustration that ensued once the public figured out that they’d be footing the bill for bonuses for the same folks who had brought the economy down in the first place. And when he was asked if he had done it?
He shrugged his shoulders. “When I wrote the language there was no such language like that,” he said yesterday.
In short, he blinked. He panicked. He ducked. And now that the truth is out, he’s going to pay the price. The president says he’ll take responsibility, but it’s Dodd who is about to suffer.
Who at the Treasury department convinced Dodd to add the language? I’d like to know that. Did Tim Geithner push this change in the amendment? Did Obama?
It’s another setback in a month’s worth of setbacks for Sen. Dodd. Right now I imagine riding off into retirement is starting to look pretty good to him–and to his fellow Democrats.