Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) its March 2009 Porker of the Month. The chairman, having somehow eluded this dubious award in the past, finally delivered enough of Barney’s blarney to be recognized, appropriately, on St. Patrick’s Day.
On Monday, March 16, 2009, Chairman Frank expressed public umbrage over reports that insurance giant AIG, a recipient of $173 billion from the U.S. Treasury, had distributed $165 million in retention bonuses to some of the employees who helped bring the company to the verge of collapse. Chairman Frank fulminated that AIG had “rewarded failure” in awarding the bonuses. That’s rich.
Chairman Frank has never been shy about rewarding failure in the past and he generally favors using taxpayer dollars to do it. He was front and center in support of enactment of TARP, which noticeably had no enforceable strings attached related to executive compensation. Indeed, he helped promote perks for bank executives. According to a January 24, 2009 Boston Herald editorial, Chairman Frank made sure “one of the recipients of a $12 million infusion of federal cash was the troubled OneUnited Bank in Boston - a bank that had already been accused of ‘unsafe and unsound banking practices.’ Its CEO, Kevin Cohee had also been criticized by regulators for ‘excessive’ pay that included a Porsche.” Chairman Frank included specific provisions in TARP aimed at bailing out OneUnited and spoke directly to Treasury officials about it.