UPDATE 4:37 PM We just heard from AIG spokesman Joe Norton: âWe are not a GSE and are therefore not restricted. We remain a share-holder owned entity and continue advocacy activities.â In other words, theyâre going to keep on lobbying. Weâll have more in a minute.
When the Fed took over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in mid-September, the government immediately shut down their prodigious lobbying operations.
But what about AIG?
The AIG bailout was structured differently than that of Fannie and Freddie. Unlike Freddie and Fannie, AIG technically remains a public company. But taxpayers also now own at least 80 percent of its stock and a controlling stake in the company. That means if AIG continues to lobby, it would be something close to the government lobbying itself.
"As effectively a government controlled entity, AIG has no business hiring outside lobbyists to push its interests," Public Citizen's Craig Holman told us. "AIG should be reflecting a common interest, the public interest, and not AIG's special interests."
Yet we've heard nothing about what AIG, the Fed or Treasury have done about AIG's lobbying since taxpayers began to pump money into the company.
We called AIG to ask whether they'd instituted a freeze on lobbying. They had no answers for us when we first called on Sept. 17, the day following the original bailout. We've been following up with a spokesman there. We've also called the Treasury four times.
No answers anywhere yet. We'll let you know as soon as we get some.