ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

After Earful From Senators, AIG Suspends Lobbying

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesAIG, the insurance giant now mostly owned by taxpayers, has decided that perhaps it shouldn’t be lobbying the government after all. As we reported earlier this month, AIG had continued its lobbying despite a government bailout for the company totaling $120 billion so far.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that AIG’s continued lobbying included a push to relax new regulations against mortgage fraud. That prompted angry letters from senators to AIG.

And lo-and-behold, AIG spokesman Nick Ashooh has now told the Journal: “We’re reviewing all of our expenses and activities. As part of that we have suspended lobbying activities.”

Citing Ashooh, the Journal says AIG will not actually “be closing any of its lobbying offices, but workforce reductions would be part of the company’s restructuring.”

We just spoke with Ashooh, who confirmed, “We are suspending our lobbying activity.” But he also added, “We haven’t said we’re never going to lobby again.”

Until the company imploded last month, AIG had been a major presence in Washington. The company spent $11 million on lobbying last year.

AIG’s quarterly lobbying disclosure forms were due today. They’ll likely shed some light on what AIG was up to until today’s “suspension.” We’ll post an update as soon as we get the reports.

Ben Protess helped report this story.

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