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Six Questions for Tim Geithner

From the letter delivered to the Treasury secretary Monday from the office of Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in the wake of the news that Treasury intends to create middlemen to skirt some rules for bailout recipients:

  • Is it your position that the executive compensation limits and federal ownership requirements imposed by Congress on bailout funding do not apply to the ultimate recipients of that funding if it is passed through special entities or special-purpose vehicles? If so, please explain the basis for this position.
  • Has the Treasury Department conducted or obtained from another federal agency or other entity an analysis of the limits on the executive compensation restrictions and other conditions Congress placed on the use of bail out funds? If so, please describe and provide copies of any such analysis.
  • Has the Treasury Department considered establishing or established any special entities or special-purpose vehicles through which it has funneled or plans to funnel bailout funds to banks or other companies? If so, please identify and describe in detail all such special entities or special-purpose vehicles.
  • American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has now received more than $180 billion in bailout funding, of which at least $40 billion was apparently funneled directly to the largest counterparties to AIG transactions. It is still unclear as to why these payments were made at 100 cents on the dollar, far more than these counterparties would likely have received had AIG filed for bankruptcy. Was AIG a “special entity” or “special-purpose vehicle” that permitted these payments to be made without imposition of the executive pay restrictions and federal ownership requirements required by law?
  • Has the Treasury Department received from the Department of Justice any advice or opinion to the effect that the executive pay limits and other conditions Congress placed on the use of bailout funds do not apply to payments funneled through special entities or special-purpose vehicles? If so, please provide copies of all records of such advice or opinions.
  • Has the Treasury Department advised or directed the Federal Reserve that the executive pay limits and other conditions Congress placed on the use of bailout funds do not apply to payments made to special entities or special-purpose vehicles? If so, please explain and provide copies of all records of such advice or direction.

Towns asks Geithner to respond by 4 p.m. April 16. Don’t hold your breath.

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