McHugh Calls for Investigation of Lavish AIG Retreat

Submitted article

Congressman John M. McHugh (NY-Pierrepont Manor) signed a letter today to Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke asking that they investigate how taxpayer dollars were used by AIG.  After the federal government announced it was providing a loan of $85 billion to AIG to prevent its collapse, it was reported that AIG executives hosted a $440,000 retreat at an exclusive resort in California.

“It is unconscionable to me that days after it was announced that AIG needed to be rescued by the federal government to prevent further economic failure, executives hosted an almost half million dollar retreat at a luxury resort.  At a time when our country is facing unprecedented economic challenges, we must ensure the irresponsible and reprehensible behavior by financial executives is put to a complete halt – it cannot be ‘business as usual’ on Wall Street.  If an investigation by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve reveals that taxpayer dollars were used to finance the retreat, this money must be paid back to the American people in full,” said Congressman McHugh.  “The American taxpayer needs to trust that the federal government is demanding accountability when their dollars are on the line.”

Signing the letter with Congressman McHugh was a bipartisan group of 86 Representatives.  The letter asks for Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke to ensure no taxpayer funds were used by AIG for the retreat, and if it was found that taxpayer dollars were used, AIG make full repayment to the federal government.

Congressman McHugh has continued to fight for accountability on Wall Street, including calling for oversight hearings in the relevant committees in Congress.  Additionally, Congressman McHugh is a sponsor of the bipartisan bill, H.R. 6864, to prohibit golden parachute payments being made to the former executives and board members of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Congressman McHugh is also a sponsor of the bipartisan House Resolution, H.Res. 1452, that would establish the Select Committee on Financial Bailouts.  The committee, which would be bipartisan in its makeup, would be charged with the task of investigating the federal government’s bailout actions, making recommendations to prevent future bailouts, and examining the “role of political activities and influence in exacerbating the current market situation.”

Text of the letter to Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke is as follows:

Dear Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke:

We write to express strong concerns about AIG’s possible misuse of federal taxpayer funds.

It has come to our attention that, after the Federal Government provided a loan of $85 billion to AIG, the AIG executives hosted a lavish $440,000 retreat at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California. Even more troubling, the day after this was revealed to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the New York branch of the Federal Reserve announced it will borrow $37.8 billion in investment-grade securities from AIG in exchange for cash.

At a time when many of our constituents have serious concerns about their own financial security, we demand that you ensure that no taxpayer funds were used by AIG to host this retreat. If taxpayer funds were used, we demand that AIG repay the American people in full. It is crucial that the American people be able to trust the actions of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury.