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The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Maybe Merrill Will Have to Give Those Bonuses Back After All

When Merrill Lynch snuck in $4 billion in executive bonuses just before its sale to Bank of America, nearly everyone I spoke with said that while the move was

Rian Mcconnell
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jan 30, 2009

When Merrill Lynch snuck in $4 billion in executive bonuses just before its sale to Bank of America, nearly everyone I spoke with said that while the move was despicable, there wasn’t anything anyone could do. Taxpayers aren’t shareholders of Merrill, and they had to just stand by and watch.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo apparently doesn’t think so. Cuomo plans to go after those bonuses and try to get the money back, Bloomberg says.

From Bloomberg:

The attorney general’s office is looking at whether the companies’ shareholders had all necessary information about Merrill’s finances and whether federal bail-out loans to Bank of America were used properly.

“No longer will this country stand for wasteful spending of tax dollars on bonuses for executives whose companies have taken huge losses and required taxpayer bailouts,” Cuomo said today in a statement about bonuses paid at Wall Street firms that received funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP.

I’m not sure what legal standing Cuomo has to demand the money back. Mabye the TARP money strengthens his case. Regardless, he most certainly can win based on the pressure of public opinion, and the growing anger over the kind of Wall Street antics that would have been shrugged off just a few years ago. Banks might give bonuses back not because they have to, under the law, but for the public relations aspect of it all– especially if they plan to come back and ask for yet more money from an increasingly angry public.

Rian Mcconnell | Rian is a Villanova University graduate who was born in DuBois, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia with a medical degree. His residency was at Thomas Jefferson and its associated Wills Eye Hospital, and he finished his education with fellowships in cataract and corneal surgery at the University of Connecticut. He has a vast experience in ophthalmic surgery, with a focus on cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, and laser refractive procedures. He serves on the board of Vision Health International, an agency that provides eye care and surgery to indigent patients in Central and South America, in addition to his surgical practice.

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