TARP-related Treasury Documents Offer New Reasons For Americans To Distrust All Authority
Whoa, weird, Fox Business News has adelightful scoop today! They won a suit against the Treasury to release 10,000 pages in TARP-related government records, and for the good of mankind have already found a couple of funny anecdotes revealing cartoonish confusion and conflict. We're starting to understand the mechanics of how AIG rips off the federal government so easily: the old racist means of pitting the bureaucrats against each other until they've all been killed off.
In one scenario, we have some government lawyers who find that their vast legal knowledge and tools, backed by the full credit and authority of the United States Government, are not powerful enough to get a couple of douchebags at bankrupt companies to confirm a meeting time. This perturbs them. Here's the summary of this episode from TPM Muckraker's Moe Tkacik (TPM MUCKRAKER'S MOE TKACIK, YOU SAY??):
First, because this crisis has been so far short on feminine bad guys, we have AIG general counsel Anastasia Kelly and Paula Reynolds, the company's restructuring officer. Marshall Huebner, the lawyer hired to represent the government kept trying to arrange conference calls with them, but they kept flaking out and forgetting to confirm the time. "I note that some of them do not have a sense of timeline," wrote another lawyer (also being paid by the hour with your tax dollars.)
Better yet is a conversation between two Treasury employees, David Nason, then-assistant secretary for financial institutions, and Jennifer Zuccarelli, then a "public affairs" officer for the Treasury. (It's unfortunate that they have to be the ones exposed for a conversation that probably happened nine millions times a day between every Treasury employee, but hey, we just copy-paste the motherfucker.) They're watching a rough Congressional hearing with the Treasury's initial TARP manager, Neel Kashkari, from last December -- a month after the one in which Rep. Elijah Cummings called Kashkari the type of "chump" he would've beaten the shit out of while growing up, in the ghetto:
Nason: How’s it going?
Zuccarelli: Bad. Serious questions, too, not “chump” type questions. They’re going to start to break Neel down soon, I’m getting worried he’s going to start snapping.
Nason: This AIG stuff is tough to watch.
Zuccarelli: They killed him on exec comp. He didn’t know answer.
Well at least Treasury officials learned from this embarrassing experience and set to work on drafting clear, unambiguous rules for executive compensation, preventing any further embarrassment in the future.
Though the details of what specifically held up an agreement with Citigroup at the end of last year are muddy, it's clear from the documents it dealt with compensation. What's also clear is that government officials were amazed that, even at the eleventh hour, Citi officials still didn't seem to understand that they would have to make concessions.
"Unbelievable," wrote Stephen Albrecht, the counselor to the general counsel at Treasury, summing up the situation.
How could these "major financial firms" treat their historical allies, the rules officials within the United States Government, with such blatant disregard? Yeah, so there may have been some tiny loopholes regarding executive compensation within the TARP legislation, but these executives would have had to be real assholes or something to have spent hours with their lawyers digging them up. Who on Wall Street spends so much time looking out for their greedy personal interests when they have companies to run, thousands of employees to protect, billions and billions in taxpayer dollars at stake, and entire global economies to prevent from total collapse?