Posted on 30 Mar 2009
According to the Washington Times, former AIG Financial Products CEO Joseph Cassano urged company executives and spouses to donate to U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) as he was in line to take over chairmanship of the critical Senate banking committee in November 2006.
The paper says that Cassano sent out an e-mail that said: "As he considers running for president in 2008, Senator Dodd has asked us for our support with his re-election campaign and we have offered to be supportive."
The executives were reportedly asked to write checks for $2,100 from themselves and their spouses, and to send them to Mr. Dodd's campaign. The Times said the executives were, in turn, supposed to pass the message down the line to senior members of their management teams.
Dodd's relationship with AIG has come under fire lately following his admission that he had agreed to a loophole in the February stimulus bill that paved the way for AIG to pay some $165 million in so-called retention bonuses.
Those bonuses, along with others paid by the company, have come under sharp attack in Washington and Hartford by lawmakers who argue that companies receiving infusions of federal bailout money should not be paying bonuses.
A call to Dodd's spokesman had not been returned as of noon today, but spokesman Bryan DeAngelis was quoted in the Times as saying in a statement: "Senator Dodds fundraising has always been above board, transparent and in accordance with campaign finance rules.
"As he said [earlier this month], contributions received from any individual who accepted these bonuses from AIG last week will be donated to charity. And last fall, he made the decision to no longer accept contributions from [political action committees] of companies receiving TARP money."
Dodd is the leading recipient of financial contributions from employees and PACs related to AIG, taking in more than $280,000 over the last two decades, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.