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Holbrooke Is In Trouble

7:15 PM, Mar 19, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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He was on the board of AIG from 2001 to 2008, leaving just two months before the company imploded but not before executives had set the bonuses that have sparked bipartisan outrage. He received more than $100,000 in compensation annually, but according to the White House, "Mr. Holbrooke had nothing to do with and knew nothing about the bonuses." Shouldn't he have known something about those bonuses, given his generous compensation package?

"The role of a board is to keep a company from going over a cliff," said Robert Litan, an expert on financial institutions at The Brookings Institution in Washington. "I wouldn't be surprised if, in a future lawsuit, a court were to find the (AIG) directors behaved negligently."

Obama seemed to agree this week when he said "Nobody here was responsible for supervising AIG and allowing themselves to put the economy at risk by some of the outrageous behavior that they were engaged in."

How can Obama reward that behavior by allowing Holbrooke to serve a the top of his administration's foreign policy apparatus? Or put another way, how can Richard Holbrooke possibly survive this story. The entire country is fuming over the train wreck that is AIG, and it turns out that RIchard Holbrooke was one of the guys who was asleep at the switch. Still -- he got his bonuses:

According to the SEC filings, AIG paid Holbrooke $267,943 in fees and stock awards in 2007; he was paid $232,865 in 2006. Compensation figures for the six months he was on the board in 2008 are not yet available. By prorating his 2007 compensation, he could have earned about $107,500 in directors fees and stock.

Between 2001 and 2005 the records indicate he earned $200,000 in director's fees. He also received 2,400 shares of AIG stock and options to purchase 10,000 more during that period.

As Obama would say, it's an outrage.