Pay Czar Impotent When Faced With Bank’s Big Bonuses

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Special Master for Compensation Ken Feinberg has released his long-awaited list of banks who gave out "unwarranted" amounts in bonuses in the wake of the crisis. Unsurprisingly, on it is basically everyone, with Citigroup, which paid a bonus of $9 million last year to an executive whose contributions included limiting color copies at the bank, clocking in in first place (Yay! They win at something!). So now that these institutions have finally been exposed as greedy, sinful, avaricious monsters who know not the sting of shame, what will happen?

Er. Well, nothing, really, now that they've mostly all paid back their TARP funds and are no longer beholden to the government. If you must know the whole thing was kind of a sham, really.


The payments "were ill advised, they were troublesome. But I do not believe it is fair to declare ... that the payments were 'contrary to the public interest,'" he said. In fact, Mr. Feinberg said he undertook the compensation review, which was required by the 2009 stimulus law, with "some reluctance."

"This is arm-chair quarterbacking," he said.

Mr. Feinberg also said he felt it was inappropriate for him to ask any of the 17 firms to claw back or reimburse taxpayers for the bonus payouts. Under the law he has no authority to demand repayment.

Oh. Well. Fun exercise, though.

Feinberg: Unfair to Ask Firms to Return Payouts [WSJ]