The Washington Times has the smoking gun:
As Democrats prepared to take control of Congress after the 2006 elections, a top boss at the insurance giant American International Group Inc. told colleagues that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd was seeking re-election donations and he implored company executives and their spouses to give.
The message in the Nov. 17, 2006, e-mail from Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executive, was unmistakable: Mr. Dodd was “next in line” to be chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the insurance industry, and he would “have the opportunity to set the committee’s agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.
“Given his seniority in the Senate, he will also play a key role in the Democratic Majority’s leadership,” Mr. Cassano wrote in the message, obtained by The Washington Times.
Mr. Dodd’s campaign quickly hit pay dirt, collecting more than $160,000 from employees and their spouses at the AIG Financial Products division (AIG-FP) in Wilton, Conn., in the days before he took over as the committee chairman in January 2007. Months later, the senator transferred the donations to jump-start his 2008 presidential bid, which later failed.
Now, two years later, Mr. Dodd has emerged as a central figure in the government’s decision to let executives at the now-failing AIG collect more than $218 million in bonuses, according to the Connecticut attorney general – even as the company was receiving billions of dollars in assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He acknowledged that he slipped a provision into legislation in February that authorized the bonuses, but said the Treasury Department asked him to do it.
Do I see a bit of reciprocal back-scratching there?
“The message seems clear: The boss says I want you to support the senator,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which studies political fundraising and ethics. “And I think the employees got the message.”
Yep, I think I do.
Each of the seven AIG-FP executives to whom the Cassano e-mail was sent made two $2,100 contributions to the Dodd campaign – one for the primary and another for the general election campaign. The records also show that five of their wives also contributed $4,200 each to the Dodd campaign. The executive vice presidents are Alan Frost, David Ackert, Douglas L. Poling, Jake DeSantis, Jon Liebergall, Robert Leary and William Kolbert.
Mr. Cassano, who resigned in February after AIG-FP posted losses of $11 billion, followed his own advice. He and his wife gave Mr. Dodd’s campaign $4,200 each.
Political fundraising in the workplace is legal, but a request from a boss may be viewed as a requirement, campaign watchdogs said.
“Implicit in this [e-mail] is the presumption that, at best, noncompliance will not be looked up favorably … at worst, it may have negative consequences on the employees,” Ms. Krumholz said.
Mr. Dodd’s campaign paid for events at AIG, as well. His Senate campaign recorded paying $400 at AIG Food Services on Dec. 7, 2006, about two weeks after the e-mail was sent. In March 2007, his presidential campaign paid AIG-FP $250 for a room rental fee, according to election commission filings. The payments could have been recorded weeks after the events took place.
Sure looks like corruption to me. Any lefties wanna try defending this?