A week ago I described the politically ambitious New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as a “stunning hypocrite” here. To recap, I said:
How many people who share responsibility for the housing crash heard round the world are now beating their breasts in self-righteous outrage over A.I.G. bonuses ? The prime players on the stage right now are Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and, ta da… Andrew Cuomo.
Let’s see what the Village Voice had to say about Andrew’s contributions last summer…
This was the headline from the Voice story, a vital contribution to the collective history of the mortgage meltdown, which deserves to be read in full:
Andrew Cuomo and Fannie and Freddie
How the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history gave birth to the mortgage crisis
By Wayne Barrett
published: August 05, 2008
I finished by asking:
How much does Attorney General Cuomo make, do ya think? Maybe we should “tax virtually all of it” as recompense for his contributions to this fiasco. He’s paid by the taxpayers, after all.
Yesterday we learned that St. Andrew the Hypocrite was crowing that some A.I.G. employees had returned their bonuses. The New York Times reported (H/T. Allahpundit):
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced late Monday afternoon that 9 of the top 10 bonus recipients at the American International Group were giving back their bonuses.
He also said 15 of the largest 20 bonus recipients in A.I.G.’s financial products division had agreed to give back the money, for a total that he estimated at about $30 million. “Those bonuses will be returned in full,” Mr. Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters.
The attorney general noted that about 47 percent of $165 million in retention bonuses was awarded to Americans, accounting for nearly $80 million. All told, Mr. Cuomo said, A.I.G. employees have agreed to return about $50 million in bonuses.
Mr. Cuomo acknowledged that some bonus recipients declined to give back bonuses, especially those overseas who are outside the jurisdiction of New York State.
(And outside the jurisdiction of the ACORN mobs and its thugs at Connecticut Working Families Party.)
He said he did not think it would be in the public interest to release the names of those who gave back their bonuses.
Mr. Cuomo received a list of bonus recipients from A.I.G. on Thursday. The bonuses have caused a public uproar because A.I.G. received more than $170 billion in government bailout money to avoid collapse. Mr. Cuomo subpoenaed the giant insurer for names of the recipients as part of his investigation into how the company is using taxpayer money.
Mr. Cuomo reiterated Monday that his office was sensitive to the security and privacy concerns of A.I.G. employees and that it would conduct a risk assessment before releasing name. More than 400 people received bonuses in A.I.G.’s financial products division.
The fact remains that Andrew Cuomo is the final arbiter of whether there is a “risk assessment” and this is a weapon he can wield at any time. A.I.G. employees know that, and they are returning these contractually agreed upon bonuses for one reason, and one reason only: They are living in fear.
This morning Glenn Beck was a guest on Fox & Friends. In a discussion of mass A.I.G. hysteria, Beck informed viewers that Cuomo (who longs to be the Governor of New York) was right in the middle of the financial collapse, by pushing for more and more mortgage loans to go to less and less qualified people. Beck characterized what Cuomo was doing, by reserving the right to name names of terrorized A.I.G. bonus recipients, as “blackmail”. Steve Doocy retorted that it was “extortion”.
Yep, they have this exactly right.
Here comes the Judge to discuss what Fox is calling “BONUSGATE”. Verdict?: Cuomo is a lawbreaker.
The exchange (transcript by Danishova):
Gretchen Carlson: I think their hands were tied pretty tightly, don’t you Judge?
Judge Napolitano: They were tied by an Attorney General willing to break federal law; willing to say, ‘I have my hands a list of private information which the law protects from revelation. Only the I.R.S. is allowed to know what you make, but I’ll make sure everybody knows what you make if you don’t come up with the cash’. It’s called, the government breaking its own laws.
Steve Doocy: Now, wait a minute. Cuomo said, ‘I’m going to subpoena, I want that list as part of my investigation to see what’s going on over there’. So he can subpoena this…it’s a secret list. He can blackmail you and say, ‘If you don’t give the money back I’m going to release this and everybody’s going to know’…
Judge Napolitano: He can’t stand on a street corner and release their names, but he can start a lawsuit.
(My Tivo ran out at that point, so that’s all folks, pending handy dandy You Tube videos)
UPDATE: CNBC asks, AIG Bonuses: Surrendered Under Pressure? Handy dandy email included for your viewing pleasure…
Hat Tip: Hot Air headlines