(Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner found out about the impending bonuses to executives at insurer AIG last Tuesday and alerted the White House on Thursday.
The furor over $165 million in bonuses paid out to staff at AIG even as the company was accepting up to $180 billion in taxpayer funds has focused attention on who in the administration knew what about the bonuses and when they knew it. And it has raised questions about Geithner’s handling of the affair.
Here is a timeline of events, according to an administration official:
March 10 Geithner finds out about impending bonuses.
March 11 After 6 p.m., Geithner calls AIG CEO Edward Liddy to express outrage and says the bonus payments are unacceptable and Liddy must go back and renegotiate. Geithner and Treasury lawyers look for legal solutions to avoid paying the bonuses.
March 12 Geithner informs the White House about the bonuses. Later in the day, senior aides tell President Barack Obama. Geithner and Treasury lawyers keep looking for legal avenues to avoid paying the bonuses.
March 13 Geithner and Treasury lawyers still seeking a legal way out. Geithner speaks with Liddy again and after some back and forth, AIG agrees to modify the bonuses and recoup the money in $30 billion AIG restructuring agreement. Geithner then asks Liddy for a letter to codify the changes.
March 14-15 Following the March 13 deadline, Treasury attorneys look for a legal way to recoup the bonus payouts. On the evening of March 15, Obama asks the economic and legal team to intensify efforts to find ways to recoup the bonuses.
Reporting by Jeff Mason in Washington