Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Not So Open Secret: Congressional Millionaires and AIG

The federal reserve has just shuttled $85 billion of taxpayer’s money to American International Group (AIG).

Opensecrets.org Discloses that AIG, compared to other companies, “has been the most nonpartisan in its contributions, splitting evenly the $9.7 million it has contributed over time. Sen. Chris Dodd, chair of the Senate banking committee, has racked up the most from AIG, with a total of $281,400, while Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, takes second with $116,400. Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama collected $103,000 and $82,600 from AIG, respectively.”

Lawmakers were more heavily invested in AIG than any other company: “Twenty-seven lawmakers owned stock in AIG last year, worth between $6.4 million and $20 million. Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.), one of the richest members of Congress, was at the top of the list of congressional investors, owning stock worth between $2.8 million and $11.5 million, while Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) followed with stock valued around $2 million.”

Teresa Heinz Kerry, the ketchup heiress wife of Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, lost a bundle. At the end of 2007, she was holding $2 million of AIG stock worth $58.30 a share. This week's AIG stock fell to $2.69 a share.

Comments on the losses were solicited by opensecrets.org, but for some reason the senator’s who lost out on AIG’s tumble were not available for comment.
Perhaps they were too busy working the rescue plan that would prevent further personal losses -- to them, not necessarily to the taxpayers they are asking to foot the bill.
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