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We know that during the financial crisis, “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg had to figure out how insitutions that had accepted loads of tax payer money would compensate their executives.The point of having a czar was to put a cap on comp, and Feinberg who had handled determining compensation for the families of the victims of the September 11th attacks, was considered the man to mediate that.
To ensure that this would happen, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked then TARP Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky to check for conflict of interests on Feinburg’s team.
Barofsky recounts Feinburg’s colourful response to his inquiries in his new book ‘Bailout: An Insider Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street,‘ which comes out tomorrow.
From the book:
A colourful character, Feinberg had a unique way with words, as I learned shortly after Senator Grassley asked us to review a potential conflict of interest on the part of one of the lawyers on Feinberg’s team. I received a phone call that the caller ID indicated came from the Treasury Building. When I picked up the phone someone with a thick Boston accent delcared, “Neil, it’s f—ing McCarthyism!” It took me a second to realise it was Feinbgerg.
The Treasury then tried, and failed, to block interviews about AIG bonuses, according Barofsky. Sounds like a fun work place.