Sanders Bill Would End Bonuses at Bailed-Out Banks

‘Stop the Greed on Wall Street Act' to be Introduced

BURLINGTON, October 29 - Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today he will introduce legislation ending bonuses for executives of bailed-out banks and insurance companies.

Sanders called it "an outrage" for taxpayers to foot the bill for billions in year-end bonuses to the same people whose greed and irresponsibility helped cause the financial crisis.

In a letter to Senate colleagues, Sanders proposed capping compensation for executives of the rescued companies at no more than the salary paid to the president of the United States.

"To force struggling Americans to pay for bonuses to millionaire Wall Street bankers who are responsible for the worst financial crises since the Great Depression would be an outrage and must not be allowed to happen," Sanders said.

When Congress approved a $700 billion package to bolster failing financial institutions, no one argued the money would pay bonuses that Forbes magazine has said could total more than $70 billion and that, according to Time magazine, has some on Wall Street calling Uncle Sam their "Sugar Daddy."

Outlining legislation he plans to introduce when Congress reconvenes next month, Sanders said the bill would prohibit companies that received cash infusions from the Treasury Department from paying any of their employees more in total compensation than the $400,000 salary of the president.

"As the Treasury Department puts tens of billions of taxpayer dollars into the financial services and insurance industries, the employees at these firms should not be receiving huge bonuses or excessive compensation packages. In fact, no one in those industries should be allowed to make more than the president while they receive federal help," Sanders said. "If companies want to pay more than what the president makes, the companies should have to give back the money they received from taxpayers so it can be used, among other purposes, to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes."

Sanders first made the case against bonuses in a letter sent October 24 to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. "All of us have a responsibility to make sure that the insatiable greed on Wall Street is not allowed to continue and that we do everything possible to ensure taxpayer dollars are protected," Sanders wrote to Paulson.

The treasury secretary has not responded.