As Democrats prepared to take control of Congress after the 2006 elections, a top boss at the insurance giant American International Group Inc. told colleagues that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd was seeking re-election donations and he implored company executives and their spouses to give.
The message in the Nov. 17, 2006, e-mail from Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executive, was unmistakable: Mr. Dodd was “next in line” to be chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the insurance industry, and he would “have the opportunity to set the committee’s agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.
And give they did! Dodd received $160,000 or so in donations from AIG executives and their spouses, money which he later used to start up his quixotic presidential run. That much money buys a lot of “Dodd for President” stickers.
This isn’t illegal, though, as the article points out, “asking” employees to give can often be construed as an order. But, given AIG’s troubles, and Dodd’s role in those troubles, this will be just one more thing that won’t sit well with voters in November of 2010.
Dodd has said he’ll donate any and all contributions from AIG (and other beneficiaries of TARP) to charity.
Haberkorn, Jennifer and Jerry Seper. “EXCLUSIVE: AIG chiefs pressed to donate to Dodd.” Washington Times 30 March, 2009.