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Lets face it folks Wall Street is going on welfare! With the latest round of government bailouts huge corporate giants like Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and now AIG. The AIG bailout which consists of an $85 billion loan from uncle Sam in exchange for an 80 percent stake in the company. Excuse me if I sound a bit rash but what is going on here? If Wall Street really needs to go on welfare then they just need to come right out and say it.
As long as everyone's talking today about AIG's payouts to its executives and foreign banks, let's remember the payouts AIG has made over the years to politicians. In the last 20 years American International Group (AIG) has contributed more than $9 million to federal candidates and parties through PAC and individual contributions. That's enough to rank AIG on OpenSecrets.org's Heavy Hitters list, which profiles the top 100 contributors of all time.
Over time, AIG hasn't shown an especially partisan streak, splitting evenly the $9.3 million it has contributed since 1989. In the last election cycle, though, 68 percent of contributions associated with the company went to Democrats. Two senators who chair committees charged with overseeing AIG and the insurance industry, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), are among the top recipients of AIG contributions. Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee and has collected more money from AIG in his congressional career than from any other company--$91,000. And with more than $280,000, AIG has been the fourth largest contributor to Dodd, who chairs the Senate's banking committee. President Obama and his rival in last year's election, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), are also high on the list of top recipients.
AIG has been a personal investment for lawmakers, too. Twenty-eight current members of Congress reported owning stock in AIG last year, worth between $2.5 million and $3.3 million. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), one of the richest members of Congress, was by far the biggest investor in AIG, with stock valued around $2 million.
Last year AIG and its subsidiaries spent about $9.7 million on federal lobbying, or about $53,000 for every day Congress was in session in 2008. The company's spending on advocacy last year was down from an all-time high of $11.4 million spent on lobbying in 2007.