When we pointed out AIG CEO Benmosche’s somewhat disconnected-from-reality comments comparing banker-treatment to lynchings of black people in the deep south, we suspected there would be fallout. Sure enough, none other than Rep. Elijah Cummings (among the leading investigators into the 2008 excesses that led to AIG’s bailout) has called for Benmosche to “resign his position as CEO immediately.” Cummings stated:
“As the leading critic of AIG’s lavish spending before and after its taxpayer funded bailout – and as the son of sharecroppers who actually experienced lynchings in their communities – I find it unbelievably appalling that Mr. Benmosche equates the violent repression of the African American people with congressional efforts to prevent the waste of taxpayer dollars…”
We await the “…out of context…” retractions tomorrow…
Cummings Calls for Resignation of AIG CEO
AIG Head Equates Criticism of Corporate Bonuses with Lynching in Deep South
Washington, DC (Sept. 24, 2013)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to a statement by Robert Benmosche, the CEO of American International Group (AIG), asserting that criticism of AIG’s excessive bonuses during the nation’s financial crisis in 2008 “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that—sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.”
“As the leading critic of AIG’s lavish spending before and after its taxpayer funded bailout—and as the son of sharecroppers who actually experienced lynchings in their communities—I find it unbelievably appalling that Mr. Benmosche equates the violent repression of the African American people with congressional efforts to prevent the waste of taxpayer dollars. If these statements are true, I believe he has demonstrated a fundamental inability to lead this modern global company in a responsible manner—a company that exists today only because it was rescued by the American taxpayers—and that he should resign his position as CEO immediately.”
Cummings, along with Rep. Henry Waxman, then-Chairman of the Oversight Committee, led an investigation in 2008 into the financial excesses that led to the government bailout of AIG. Cummings continued his work in subsequent years with then-Chairman Edolphus Towns, investigating AIG’s excessive bonuses paid for by taxpayers.
Earlier this year, AIG considered joining a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the government agencies that rescued the company during the financial crisis.