Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to reports today that executives at American International Group will receive more than a half billion dollars under a new employee-retention plan. These reports follow the Treasury Department’s announcement Monday that even more taxpayer dollars will be needed to keep the company afloat, raising the total taxpayer commitment to $152 billion:
“As ordinary families struggle to make ends meet in this dramatic economic crisis, AIG’s management nevertheless asks that taxpayer dollars subsidize the firm’s employee-retention plan. The $500 million plan would benefit the very AIG executives who led the firm to the brink of collapse. To reward executives with exorbitant paydays after poor performance, and to do so even indirectly with taxpayer dollars, strikes most Americans as fundamentally unfair and a misuse of their money.
“American taxpayers are now equity owners in AIG. Keeping good personnel at AIG to help turn the company around so American taxpayers will see a return on their investment might make sense. But as steward of Americans’ tax dollars, the Treasury Department should explain why this half-billion-dollar compensation plan is an appropriate use of taxpayer resources under the current circumstances.
“I hope Secretary Paulson will address Americans’ concerns regarding this proposal in his public appearance later this afternoon.”