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What Geithner Knew

Anyone who watched AIG bonus-gate with any interest is aware that it was Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) who took the fall for changing legislation that would have reined in those controversial payments. Anyone following a bit more closely, though, knows also that Dodd made those changes only after White House officials, behind Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, insisted on them. And today, The Washington Post digs a bit deeper to explore what might explain the reasoning behind Treasury’s decision:

Documents show that senior officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York received details about the bonuses more than five months before the firestorm erupted and were deeply engaged with AIG as well as outside lawyers, auditors and public relations firms about the potential controversy. But the New York Fed did not raise the alarm with the Obama administration until the end of February.

And who was head of the New York Fed five months before the AIG bonus scandal broke? Right. Tim Geithner.

The Post is quick to point out that Geithner’s name doesn’t appear anywhere in the documents obtained by the paper. But is there any reason to believe that, as president of the New York Fed, he somehow would have been kept in the dark about the imminent bonuses? And if Geithner was part of the team that approved those bonuses in late 2008, who would be better placed to see to it that they were ultimately paid? Also, would he not have known that those payments were nearly four times the amount AIG reported earlier in the year?

Perhaps now we know why Geithner et al. swooped into the Capitol to insist that Dodd alter his amendment to exempt AIG.

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