The Corner

Big Trouble for Geithner?

E-mail exchanges show that Tim Geithner’s New York Federal Reserve bank told AIG not to disclose payouts it made during the height of the financial crisis. From the New York Times:

The e-mail exchange between the bailed-out insurance giant and its regulator portray a strange reversal of roles, with A.I.G. staff arguing for the disclosure of certain details on payments for credit-default swaps to major banks, only to be discouraged by officials at, or representing, the Federal Reserve.

In a draft of one regulatory filing, A.I.G. stated that it had paid banks — including Goldman Sachs Group, Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale and Deutsche Bank — the full value of C.D.O.s, or collateralized debt obligations, that they had bought from the company. In the response to that draft from the law firm Davis Polk and Wardwell, which represented the New York Fed, that crucial sentence was crossed out, and did not appear in the final version filed on Dec. 24, 2008.

By the end of December 2008, A.I.G. had become the proxy in tug-of-war between government agencies, with the Securities and Exchange Commission asking the company to revise its disclosure, which the regulator saw as falling short of full compliance.

The e-mails were initially obtained by Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.).

“It appears that the New York Fed deliberately pressured AIG to restrict and delay the disclosure of important information to the S.E.C.,” Issa said in a statement.

Daniel FosterDaniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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