(Washington, DC) -- AIG executives who pocketed $165-million in bonuses may want to think twice before they deposit those checks.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is waiting to hear back today from subpoenas he's issued while anger on Capitol Hill continues to mount.
New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is demanding the names of the AIG employees who received millions in bonuses after the company received billions in federal bailout funds. "If the taxpayer didn't bail out AIG, those contracts wouldn't be worth the paper they're printed on," Cuomo said.
Not only does Cuomo want copies of all the bonus contracts, but he also wants to know who negotiated them. If they were signed while the company was already in financial trouble it could be fraud. But Cuomo isn't the only one who wants to take legal action.
President Barack Obama is also angry. "In the last six months AIG has received substantial sums from the U.S. Treasury. I've asked Secretary Geithner to use that leverage and pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole," Obama said Monday.
A new CNS News poll suggests American anger goes beyond AIG, with 75 percent saying banks' current problems are caused by management decisions. On Capitol Hill, outrage over AIG's irresponsibility is one thing both parties agree on.
"I'm not gonna accept it because AIG says they have to do it or some lawyer in the White House says we have to do it," fumed Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) "We have to look at it more closely."
Senator Charles Grassley had even harsher words, saying AIG should follow the Japanese example. "Come before the american people and take that deep bow and say I'm sorry and then either do one of two things, resign or go commit suicide"
Since AIG has already written the checks, experts warn the money will be hard to recover. But one Michigan Congressman has introduced a bill trying to do just that. It would create a 60 percent surtax on big bonuses and would apply to any company which the government has a 79 percent stake in. So far, AIG is the only one that meets that criteria.
(Susan Roberts, CBS News)