For Immediate Release March 19, 2009
Contact: Daniel Reilly 202-225-2836

Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), issued the following statement today after voting in favor of H.R. 1586, a bill to reclaim taxpayer dollars used for excessive bonuses for officials at companies like AIG. 

“This is complete March madness. You don’t blow the big game and then still get a trophy,” said Markey. “Not one single penny of taxpayer funds should be used to reward the reckless executives whose irresponsible risk-taking has done massive damage to our economy. And this bill will ensure that they are not rewarded.”

The Bonus Recoupment Tax Bill will impose a 90 percent tax on bonuses for those individuals earning more than $250,000 at companies that have received at least $5 billion in government funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

From 1987 to 1995, Rep. Markey was the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance. In that role, Markey held five oversight hearings on the risks financial derivatives posed to the markets.  He then introduced The Derivatives Market Reform Act of 1994, a bill which would have regulated derivatives transactions by affiliates of insurance companies like AIG to protect the financial system. 

Markey introduced similar legislation in 1995, 1999 and 2008, but it never was adopted due to opposition from the Republican majority and the financial services industry.

“By the early 1990s it was already clear that the derivatives markets were too risky to remain unregulated and now the chickens have come home to roost,” said Markey. “By passing this bill today, the House is sending a strong signal that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.  What we still need to do, however, is take up a comprehensive package of financial market reforms to address the recklessness that led us to our current crisis.”