Pay Still High at Bailed-Out Firms, Report Says

By:  Annie Lowrey

WASHINGTON – Top executives at firms that received taxpayer bailouts during the financial crisis continue to receive generous government-approved compensation packages, a Treasury watchdog said in a report released on Monday.

The report comes from the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the bank bailout law passed at the end of the George W. Bush administration. The watchdog, commonly called Sigtarp, found that 68 out of 69 executives at Ally Financial, A.I.G. and General Motors received annual compensation of $1 million or more, with the Treasury’s signoff.

All but one of the top executives at the failed insurer A.I.G. – which required more than $180 billion in emergency taxpayer financing – received pay packages worth more than $2 million. And 16 top executives at the three firms earned combined pay of more than $100 million.

“In 2012, these three TARP companies convinced Treasury to roll back its guidelines by approving multimillion-dollar pay packages, high cash salaries, huge pay raises and removing compensation tied to meeting performance metrics,” Christy Romero, the special inspector general, said in a statement. “Treasury cannot look out for taxpayers’ interests if it continues to rely to a great extent on the pay proposed by companies that have historically pushed back on pay limits.”

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