October 28, 2008 / 8:28 PM / 11 years ago

Waxman eyes CEO pay at banks getting government cash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The nine largest U.S. banks receiving $125 billion from the government were asked on Tuesday to hand over information about their compensation and bonus plans to a Congressional panel.

Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the U.S. House oversight committee, sent letters on Tuesday to the banks’ chief executives asking them to provide information about the total compensation paid or projected to be paid to the 10 highest paid employees for the last three years.

Waxman, who has publicly blasted other executives for their lavish pay packages, wants the information broken down by salaries, bonuses and benefits and a description of the reasons for the year-to-year changes in the amounts.

Nine major banks, including Citigroup (C.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Bank of America (BAC.N), soon will be receiving cash from the Treasury Department’s $700 billion financial services rescue package.

“While I understand the need to pay the salaries of employees, I question the appropriateness of depleting the capital that taxpayers just injected into the banks through the payment of billions of dollars in bonuses...,” Waxman, a Democrat from California, said in the letter.

Waxman’s committee also wants information on the number of employees who were paid, or projected to be paid, more than $500,000 in total compensation for each year from 2006 to 2008. The deadline to hand over information is November 10.

Banks participating in the federal cash infusion plan are subjected to rules that limit executive payouts. However critics say those rules may not rein in hefty compensation packages because the language is vague and subject to government interpretation.

Reporting by Rachelle Younglai;editing by Carol Bishopric

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