Thursday, March 19, 2009

Republican Lawmakers Who Opposed Salary Caps Last Month Are Now Attacking AIG Bonuses, Part II

As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, Republicans who opposed Wall Street salary caps, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Banking Commitee ranking member Richard Shelby (R-AL), are now flipping their positions to condemn the bonuses paid by AIG. Last night, McConnell made the rounds on cable television to misleadingly suggest that he has always favored salary caps.
But McConnell and Shelby are not the only Republican lawmakers pushing this deception. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) also are hypocritically altering their views:
Q: “Should Congress, should the White House be getting a way for these contracts to be broken?”KING: “Congress should find a way to do it or the administration should lean on them in a way to get – to have it done.” [MSNBC, 3/17/09]
BOND: “It’s unacceptable to pay bonuses after the American taxpayer was forced to bail out an institution without reforming it.” [KRCG, 3/18/09]
INHOFE: “The AIG situation is clear evidence of what happens when you shovel money out the door with no strings attached and no transparency.” [KTUL, 3/17/09]
Only a month ago, King argued against strong provisions to ensure executive salaries were capped:
KING: “No, I will say, I agree there should have been some caps. I think this went too far, and I think it can be counterproductive.” [ABC News, 2/15/09]
Last month, Bond sharply criticized a bill offered by Sen. Claire McCaskill to limit the salary of executives at companies receiving federal bailout money to no more than what the president of the United States makes — $400,000 a-year:
BOND: “The worst thing we can do is tell businesses how to run themselves. Congress has a pretty bad track record. If you you look at our collective judgment, all 535 of us in our wisdom can’t run government very well. (We) sure can’t run business.” [STL Today, 2/2/09]
While Inhofe today demands “strings attached” to federal bailout money, he expressed the opposite in February:
INHOFE: “I thought, is this still America? Do we really tell people how to run [a business], and who to pay and how much to pay?” [Huffington Post, 2/6/09]
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich today penned an op-ed venting his “outrage” at the “fat bonuses” paid to staffers at AIG. However in November, while speaking with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, he attacked Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) for having the audacity to send “off letters to every bank demanding to know all of their executive compensation policy.” Gingrich then scoffed at the idea of capping salaries specifically at AIG:
GINGRICH: “You have a level of micromanagement of AIG and others. You can’t apply Washington bureaucratic rules to a free market company without ultimately destroying the company.” [Fox News, 11/12/08]
Hypocrisy abounds.

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