Tags: pence | aig | campaign | cash

GOP's Pence: Give Back AIG Donations

Wednesday, 18 Mar 2009 01:43 PM

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence is asking the president and lawmakers to come clean on their connections to insurance giant AIG.

The Indiana congressman wants politicians from both parties to return campaign contributions from the company, which triggered a firestorm this week with news its executives were getting $165 million despite receiving $173 billion in bailout funds.

So far, no Democrats seem to be seconding Pence’s call to return the campaign cash. During a news conference Wednesday, a reporter asked President Barack Obama whether he planned to return the $101,332 he received during the campaign. The president dodged the question.

During the most recent election cycle, AIG contributed to 18 Democratic members of the Senate, including Hillary Clinton ($35,965) and Joe Biden ($19,975), and 34 Democratic House candidates. The insurance firm also contributed to the Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain ($59,499), 14 other GOP senators, and 21 Republican House candidates.

Talking to reporters Wednesday morning, Pence said the beleaguered insurance giant was wrong to dole out contributions while it was receiving government-funded bailouts.

“I think that political contributions during that period of time should be returned,” said Pence, noting immediately that he did not receive any money.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, AIG employees have contributed more than $9 million to federal candidates and PACs during the past 20 years, making the company one of the top contributors.

Two top Banking Committee Democrats lashing out at AIG — Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. — are among the top recipients of AIG campaign donations. Schumer has taken in more than $111,000 from AIG during the past 20 years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, while Dodd has received more $280,000.

“The fact that these two senators are not the harshest objecting is ironic to say the least,” Pence said.

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