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AIG's over-the-top blast bombs in Congress

October 7, 2008 |  4:43 pm

Thanks, taxpayers

Just a few days ago, we posted about the lavish retreat the execs from AIG American General enjoyed mere weeks after their parent company threw itself on taxpayers' mercy and accepted a massive $85-billion bailout. (One of our favorite blogs, The O.C. Watchdog, broke the story.)

Now, word of that slice of the lush life has trickled down to Congress, where our elected officials aren't too thrilled. Our own Rep. Henry Waxman, who just happens to chair the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, took AIG to the woodshed, then promptly posted the itemized list of expenses.

So just how much did the AIG execs spend?

Rooms: $139,000, with an addition $2,900 on tips. Banquets cost $147,000. The spa bill came to close to $25k, which makes the $6k spend on miscellaneous meals and room service seem positively thrifty by comparison. Total bill for the shindig: $440,000.

AIG said the company involved is a subsidiary, not in financial turmoil, and anyway, the whole junket was planned a year ago. Waxman, needless to say, was not amused.

"In each case, the companies and their executives grew rich by taking on excessive risk," said Waxman. "In each case, the companies collapsed when these risks turned bad. And in each case, their executives are walking away with millions of dollars while taxpayers are stuck with billions of dollars in costs."

Waxman added, "The AIG CEOs are like the Lehman CEO in one other key respect -- in each case, they refuse to accept any blame for what happened to their companies."

A sampling of reactions in Bloomberg, CNN Money, Politico and the Washington Times.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo: TimmyGUNZ / Flickr, via Creative Commons

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