WASHINGTON — American International Group Inc: Chairman Edward Liddy today told a congressional panel that he hopes AIG can repay all money owed to the government within 5 years.
“We intend to pay back the government as soon as possible,” Liddy said at a hearing on AIG organized by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “We hope we can start that in a matter of months.”
But AIG, New York, can repay the government in full only if the economy cooperates, Liddy warned.
“Asset values have to stay strong,” he said. “There has to be a capital market that allows us to take businesses public.”
Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., the chairman of the Oversight Committee, started the hearing by saying that ordinary taxpayers are indignant about the AIG bailout and are demanding more transparency.
“We are hearing, ‘Trust us,’ but we are not willing to let $180 billion go just on trust,” Towns said. “We will question; we will inquire; we will verify.”
Later, Towns and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the highest-ranking Republican member of the Oversight Committee, asked whether AIG would show them or staffers AIG’s “Project Destiny” document, which has been described as a “multi-year roadmap for the restructuring of AIG.”
Liddy said he would share the document only if the lawmakers and congressional staffers who saw it would sign the same kind of confidentiality agreement that the Treasury and Fed officials who helped develop the document have signed.
Letting the roadmap become a public record would give confidential marketing data to AIG’s competitors, hurting AIG’s ability to repay the government, Liddy said.
Also at the hearing, Liddy said:
- AIG is now using $40 billion of Troubled Asset Relief Program funds, has a $43 billion loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and has access to $30 billion more from the Federal Reserve system.
- The Treasury Department is completing work on regulations that will govern AIG’s bonus policy.
- Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Board officials are playing a key role in strategic and policy decisions at AIG. Treasury and Fed officials “are very involved” with AIG, meeting both with internal committees and with the company’s board.
In response to a question, Liddy said he supports state insurance regulation, but he said he also believes that it is critical for Congress to add the kind of systemic regulatory process that Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair proposed at an earlier hearing.