Members of Congress are seeming to revel in bashing AIG -- the poster child in Washington for Wall Street greed -- particularly during Wednesday's at-times contentious grilling of the insurance giant's CEO.
But as a watchdog group points out today, they were more than happy to accept campaign donations from the company when it wasn't so toxic.
Over the past two decades, American International Group has contributed nearly $9.4 million to federal candidates and parties through political action committee and individual contributions, the Center for Responsive Politics says. That ranks AIG 79th on the center's "heavy hitters" list, and the company is also a major lobbying player.
Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut -- who on Wednesday acknowledged he watered down an executive pay provision in the stimulus bill that could have blocked the controversial AIG bonuses -- is the top individual recipient, with more than $281,000 between 1989 and 2008.
Now chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Dodd said he took the action at the behest of unnamed officials at the Treasury Department, who worried that a retroactive clause would invite lawsuits, and has scoffed at any suggestion that the campaign cash played any role.
President Obama and Senator John McCain rank fourth and fifth on AIG's largess list because of last year's presidential campaign, while Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts is seventh with $85,000.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.