Bank of America, the nation’s largest bank and the recipient of $45 billion of taxpayers’ money through the TARP bailout, has suggested that the Obama administration are outlaws.
“Since when does law apply to this administration?” asked BofA spokesman Bob Stickler, as quoted by CNN.
Stickler was discussing the issue of pay for the bank’s outgoing CEO, Ken Lewis. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Lewis, who announced his retirement from the bank last month, has agreed not to take any compensation for his work as CEO this year on the urging of President Barack Obama’s new “pay czar,” Kenneth Feinberg.
Though Feinberg reportedly pressured Lewis not to take any compensation for 2009, Lewis will still walk away with a total of $69 million in compensation, because that was negotiated before the position of pay czar was created, so Feinberg has no jurisdiction over those payments.
But, in the CNN report, the BofA expressed doubt as to whether the Obama administration would allow Lewis’ $69-million golden handshake to stand. “Since when does law apply to this administration?” Stickler asked, musing about the possibility Lewis would lose his compensation package.
“This accusation should not go unanswered, especially when it comes from a taxpayer-bailed-out bank,” opines blogger Teddy Partridge at FireDogLake. “Will House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank call Mr. Stickler up to Capitol Hill to ask him exactly what laws he thinks the Obama Administration has violated?”
Bank of America has been the target of consumer outrage over the past year, as it collected $45 billion in taxpayers’ money, on top of more than $100 billion in loan guarantees it secured from the government.
In January of this year, consumer’s rights advocates were dismayed to discover that BofA had used some 75 percent of a $20-billion bailout installment to pay bonuses to executives at Merrill Lynch, the brokerage BofA purchased in 2008.