Frank Is Not McCarthy, According to Frank

"I'm not morphing into Joe McCarthy..."
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) at a conference on 3/12/09 about the prospect of criminal prosecutions in the ongoing financial crisis.

"I will convene the committee to vote for a subpoena for the names." (emphasis mine).
Rep. Barney Frank prior to Congressional hearings 3/18/09 about AIG's bonus payments.

Fair enough Congressman. Here's a list of names for you.


Chris Janc said...

You rock.

Frank said...

This is confusing because the McCarthy reference makes no sense in this context. There are actual people who allowed AIG to take our tax money (which was meant to prevent a financial meltdown that AIG caused--I'm simplifying) and used some of it to pay bonuses to the employees who made highly leveraged bets which brought on the crisis that "forced" our government to bail them out. Before using your list (which may make you feel good somehow), I'd start with Geitner and Bernanke and then move on to this guy among others.

The Daily Pander said...

Frank (not the Frank who's not McCarthy):

Sarcastically pointing out the incongruity of a man preemptorially denying McCarthyness and then threatening to use Congressional subpoena power to force public disclosure of those engaged in presumably legal (though unpopular and even unpleasant) behavior. Frank shouldn't have shrouded himself in nonMcCarthyness.

Frank said...

I admit, I was a bit dense and your explanation has clarified for me what you meant by the first two paragraphs of your post.

It's not yet clear if AIG engaged in fraud. This is why we need to force public disclosure of who got bonuses, which employees left after taking "retention" bonuses (is this fraud?) and who in the current and prior administrations allowed it.

I think this is all public show anyway and nothing will happen.

Chris Janc said...


I have to say that I think the issue of legality has already been addressed by both AIG and the Treasury Department. Barney Frank doesn't want names to determine fraud,he wants names to release to the public to demagogue the issue. It is his stock in trade. This is a very McCarthyist tactic.

Frank said...

OK. Point made that it was stupid for Barney Frank to invoke McCarthy's name that way. He has a tendency to speak before thinking about what he is going to say.

However. Don't be too hasty on ascribing nefarious motives to his committee's work. As the days go on and more information comes out, there is more and more evidence of fraud at AIG.

And there are other questions.

Chris Janc said...


There may have indeed been fraud at AIG. And if there was, I hope the offenders are prosecuted. If they are, no doubt there will be monetary penalties as well as likely jail time. But that is a completely different issue from these bonuses. You were making it sound as if granting retention bonuses were fraudulent.