Sunday, January 31, 2010

Upon Further Review: the AIG Bailout Hearings

I spent some time this weekend re-watching the AIG bailout hearings conducted by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.  I wanted to re-watch the Congressmen who put forth the most intelligent and challenging questions - i.e. the questions which attempted to expose the truth.  Some of the most engaging questions surprisingly came from Democrats.  In this regard, it would be well worth anyone's time taking another look specifically at the Q&A segments which involved Darrel Issa, Dan Burton, Jim Jordan, Jason Chaffetz, Dennis Kucinich, Stephen Lynch and Marcy Kaptor. Some of the Congressmen, like Chairman Edolphus Towns, asked questions which reflected stunning ignorance regarding the subject matter and events under investigation. One wonders how someone like Towns even gets elected in the first place.

With regard to "the truth," many of both Geithner's and Paulson's answers go beyond stretching my ability to suspend disbelief.  In several instances, both of them never answered some questions directly and were allowed to get away with answers that evasively danced around answering the question.  In one instance, Geithner is nailed with an email that was addressed to him regarding negotiations on what value would be paid to the banks and Geithner claims he does not remember that email.  Paulson at one point says, "I don't want answer that question."  The entire circus was appalling.  Even more appalling was the willingness of Committee members to allow Geithner and Paulson off the hook.  Part of the problem results from the five minute time limit imposed, and Geithner's and Paulson's ability to assert long-winded, overly verbose and rhetorically empty answers in order to use up the alloted time.

There is no question in my mind that both men lied under oath.  The problem will be getting someone higher up than Edolphus Towns to issue a request for a special investigation with full subpoena powers.  Upon further review, I can spot the exact comments and statements and answers which were highly scripted and rehearsed by Geithner. I would bet that he spent the whole week leading up to the hearings spending many hours with his legal counsel memorizing and rehearsing how to say key phrases. With Paulson, you can tell what's rehearsed and what questions his counsel didn't anticipate by whether or not he starts stuttering (I'm dead serious about this).  Even the New York Post refers to Paulson as "stammering Hank Paulson."  Here's my tribute to Geithner, followed by a link to a video of the full hearing:

Here is the link to the video:  AIG BAILOUT HEARINGS

1 comment:

  1. The five minute time limit is complete nonsense! How many cases would be solved in courts if they had a five minute time limit? None. Which brings up the question - can Congress change the time limit?