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Frank: 'We Will Do Everything We Can' To Stop AIG Bonuses

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., tours an area of abandoned homes Monday in New Bedford, Mass., where the governor announced that the state is giving a $300,000 grant to a nonprofit association to help turn foreclosed properties into affordable housing. (AP)
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., tours an area of abandoned homes Monday in New Bedford, Mass., where the governor announced that the state is giving a $300,000 grant to a nonprofit association to help turn foreclosed properties into affordable housing. (AP)

Rep. Barney Frank has publicly expressed his outrage after revelations that insurance giant AIG will pay about $165 million in executive bonuses. WBUR's Monica Brady-Myerov spoke to the Massachusetts Democrat on Monday morning in New Bedford, where he was announcing a state-wide foreclosure program, and asked him if Congress has any plans to try to stop AIG from awarding bonuses to its executives:

REP. BARNEY FRANK: We will, we will do everything we can. The problem is that this is something the Federal Reserve did last September. This did not come originally from the money that Congress voted. The Federal Reserve used the statute that they had been...since 1932, hadn't been used that much. And they gave that money. You do have this problem: If contracts were legally signed, we can't pass a law to overcome them. And clearly they should have put some safeguards in. We are going to look very carefully at that.

The other thing is, it does seem to me it's time to fire some people over there. Including maybe some of the people that got the bonuses. The point is that these people appear to have gotten bonuses as a reward for incompetence. They said they would have retained people — they're retaining people who messed it up. So we will be looking very carefully at whether or not there is any legal recourse. But if there isn't, two things. First of all, we have put rules into effect already to keep it from happening again. And secondly, we think the time has come now to change some people over there so that we make sure that more responsible people are running it.

This program aired on March 16, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Monica Brady-Myerov Twitter Reporter
Monica Brady-Myerov was formerly a report in WBUR's newsroom.

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