Sen. Chris Dodd for the first time Wednesday acknowledged he was instrumental in creating legislation that cleared the way for disgraced executives at taxpayer-rescued AIG to walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.
The Connecticut Democrat also had to explain the receipt of more than $100,000 in campaign donations from AIG workers, including some from Leonid Shekhtman of Redding.
Dodd vowed to return any tainted contributions from company executives, but that issue will likely be dwarfed by the huge AIG executive bonuses.
In an interview Wednesday afternoon, the senator said he had hoped an amendment he drafted to limit executive pay under last year's Targeted Asset Relief Program would have ruled out hefty bonuses.
"I thought we covered that," Dodd said. His amendment passed the Senate, but was later relaxed by the conference panel that works out differences between versions of legislation passed in the two chambers of Congress.
But later Wednesday, Dodd told CNN he agreed to change his amendment -- at the request of the Obama administration -- to ensure that previously enacted bonus contracts would be honored, despite billions of dollars that would go to bailout beneficiaries.
"The alternative was losing the amendment entirely," he told the network. Administration officials feared that without the language the bailout measure would be deluged with lawsuits.
Now if he'll just give up that million dollar Irish Cottage, his sweetheart mortgage deals, etc, we'll call it even.