Secret AIG bailout docs leaked; Update: Bernanke on the hot seat
Eeenteresting. About a week ago, the SEC agree to cover-up bailout documents for AIG until 2018. The documents relate to the backroom bank bailout payments at top dollar to AIG counterparties — which know-nothing Tim Geithner was grilled about today on the Hill. The leak comes as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke heads to the Hill himself to secure a second term.
Zero Hedge has the scoop on the secret documents and uploaded some of the data for open-source analysis:
…the critical question is: since there is not one security rated A, and in fact the median rating is a high C, and since we know that Soc Gen had parked its securities with the Fed in November 2008, just what standards does the Federal Reserve have when accepting securities in the discount window to lend against? And the implication is that Bernanke will allow any toxic crap to be eligible collateral, likely at par.
We will continue analyzing the other firms’ securities as well, and solicit reader input in ideas on how to steer this analysis.
Update: Bernanke sent a buck-passing letter in response to questions about the AIG backroom bank bailout payments. Dealbook posts the Bernanke document and reports:
In a letter to Representative Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Mr. Bernanke said he “was not directly involved in negotiations” over payments to A.I.G.’s trading partners to unwind tens of billions of dollars in credit default swaps. Instead, he said, these negotiations were handled primarily by the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. (Read Mr. Bernanke’s letter on the jump.)
Responding to questions from Mr. Issa, Mr. Bernanke said the financial conditions of A.I.G.’s counterparties “was not a factor in the decision regarding the amount paid to the counterparties or whether concessions should be sought from them.”
Mr. Bernanke also said he was not involved in discussions with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year about any disclosure issues involving A.I.G.
Hotline On Call has the whip count at 43-18:
Allies of Fed chair Ben Bernanke spent the weekend trolling for Senate support ahead of an expected reconfirmation vote this week, but Bernanke remains short of the votes he needs to win a second term, according to a Hotline OnCall tally.
Bernanke has public support from 43 senators, while 18 are publicly opposed to his reconfirmation. That leaves 39 senators uncommitted, and many have said they are concerned about Bernanke’s record during his first years in office.
The WH and Senate leaders have expressed confidence they will have the votes they need. Still, underscoring the trouble some members have with Bernanke’s renomination, even the top GOPer in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has refused to disclose how he would vote.
What was supposed to be an easy confirmation became more difficult recently as populist anger has surged across the nation. It has even cost Bernanke a certain vote; Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) voted for Bernanke when his nomination came before the Banking Committee, but Brown has said he is rethinking that vote.