unit pressured employees to donate to Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd as Democrats prepared to take control of Congress after the 2006 elections. Dodd, who became the head of the powerful banking committee, wound up collecting more than $160,000 from employees and their spouses in the days before he took over as committee chairman.
The message in the Nov. 17, 2006, e-mail from Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executive, was unmistakable: Mr. Dodd was “next in line” to be chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the insurance industry, and he would “have the opportunity to set the committee’s agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.
“Given his seniority in the Senate, he will also play a key role in the Democratic Majority’s leadership,” Mr. Cassano wrote in the message, obtained by The Washington Times.
Dodd’s role in inserting language in the stimulus bill’s compensation caps that exempted bonuses agreed to before February of this year, including the AIG bonuses that created a firestorm, has been a matter of confusion and controversy in recent weeks. He initially said he didn’t insert the language, then said he did it at the behest of the Treasury Department. It’s not clear whether it was intended as a direct bow to AIG interests.