Posts Tagged ‘AIG’

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the anti-regulation mega lobby that plans to spend tens of millions of dollars to support corporate candidates in the coming election, has been accused of tax fraud, according to a complaint filed with the IRS on Friday.

The complaint alleges that the Chamber abused the tax-exempt status of its 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the National Chamber Foundation (NCF), by directing NCF funds to the Chamber for prohibited political activities. Further, the complaint alleges, the NCF money was originally a donation from the Starr Foundation, another 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity led by the former chair of A.I.G., Maurice Greenberg. The complaint charges that the A.I.G.-affiliated Starr Foundation donated $18 million to the NCF, which was then “loaned” to the Chamber for non-charitable purposes, such as training staff and lobbying for legislation that would benefit A.I.G.

The complaint was filed by U.S. Chamber Watch, whose mission is to “promote greater transparency and accountability in American political processes by shedding light on the funding and practices of the largest special interest lobbyist in America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” The complaint requests that the IRS assess the proper taxes on NCF and the Starr Foundation for the $18 million in expenditures, and revoke the NCF’s tax-exempt status. You can view U.S. Chamber Watch’s complaint here.

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They’re back at the trough. The folks at AIG don’t get it. Do they expect to be congratulated for taking $100 million in bonus payments instead of $110 million or $120 million? Payment of the bonuses is justified as contractually required but the government-owned AIG can honor such contractual terms only because the firm was rescued with $180 billion in taxpayer supports.

This latest outrage comes on top of reports that emerged in recent months that AIG employees en masse reneged on promises made last year to return bonus payments.

The refrain that bonus payments must be made to retain “talent” doesn’t even qualify as a cruel joke. This is the so-called talent that presided over the collapse of AIG and cost taxpayers countless billions.

Congress is not helpless on this issue, and has no excuse for failing to take action. When the AIG bonus scandal broke, there was serious talk of imposing a 90 percent tax on the bonus payments. Once fooled, it is time for Congress to return to this remedy.

AIG, of course, is only the most egregious example of bonus abuse. It is time for Congress to adopt an across-the-board windfall bonus tax on Wall Street and the financial sector. The place to start is by taking up the Responsible Banking Act, introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).

Robert Weissman is president of Public Citizen.

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When news broke that insurance giant AIG planned to dole out more than $165million in bonuses to company executives, Public Citizen was outraged.

We immediately got to work determining how to respond. We developed a plan – and we need you to take action today.

Tomorrow, AIG CEO, Edward M. Liddy, will testify before a House subcommittee examining how AIG got into its current economic mess and why it needs so much taxpayer bailout money.

It’s time to put an end to this era of irresponsible behavior and wasteful spending. The fact that companies like AIG are taking taxpayer money – YOUR money – while handing out millions of dollars in bonuses to people who oversaw the company’s downfall is an outrage.

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America’s taxpayers – including you – deserve a refund.

Our country is facing its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. AIG, an insurance giant, recently received $123 billion of taxpayers’ money to rescue it from bankruptcy. But even though AIG executives knew their company was in danger of going broke, they continued the party, leaving taxpayers to deal with the hangover.

This is despicable! Just days after the government announced an $85 billion loan to the company in September, AIG decided to pay for a $444,000 week-long retreat at a posh California resort for its top-performing insurance agents.

Plus, earlier this month, as AIG asked for an additional $38 billion loan, its executives traveled by private jet to go partridge hunting in England, which cost $90,000. Last week, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo threatened legal action if this wasteful spending continued.

We cannot allow AIG to get away with this. (more…)

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The Consumerist blog beat me to it: mounting public scrutiny and Congressional pressure has forced AIG to cease its mortgage industry lobbying efforts, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

In a world where not getting ripped off — or getting ripped off a teeny tiny little bit less — constitutes a victory for the public, this is a victory for the public.

Makes you wish lawmakers had taken a little more time on this whole bailout thing, doesn’t it?

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