There’s a lie going around that Dodd was the one who added an amendment to the stimulus bill that protects executive compensation. This just burns me up, because almost the exact opposite is true and people should know it because it’s all there in the public record. For example, consider this lead paragraph CNN.

Senate Banking committee Chairman Christopher Dodd told CNN Wednesday that he was responsible for language added to the federal stimulus bill to make sure that already-existing contracts for bonuses at companies receiving federal bailout money were honored.

They don’t provide much in the way of actual quotes or evidence, but here’s the quote that matters.

“The administration had expressed reservations,” Dodd said. “They asked for modifications. The alternative was losing the amendment entirely.”

“I agreed reluctantly,” Dodd said. “I was changing the amendment because others were insistent.”

How does Dodd’s “agreed reluctantly” turn into “pushed for” in CNN’s headline? What was “the amendment” that Dodd was afraid of losing entirely? What CNN won’t tell you is that “the amendment” would have imposed much stricter limits on executive compensation. FactCheck provides more context. Here is what Dodd actually proposed.

The language is contained on page 736, and it said the Treasury Department’s regulations governing recipients of funds under the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) “shall” contain:

H.R. 1, Senate version: … a prohibition on such TARP recipient paying or accruing any bonus, retention award, or incentive compensation during the period that the obligation is outstanding to at least the 25 most highly compensated employees, or such higher number as the Secretary may determine is in the public interest …

This language was authored by Dodd, who offered it as an amendment to the Senate bill on Feb. 4.

Here’s what happened later.

Dodd’s strict ban was rewritten. Most important, the final bill said the prohibition on bonus payments (page 404) …

H.R. 1, Final version: … shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009, as such valid employment contracts are determined by the Secretary or the designee of the Secretary.

In simple language, Dodd’s ban would have applied to AIG and any institution that had yet to repay TARP funds, regardless of whether existing employment contracts called for the bonuses. The bill that emerged from the House-Senate conference committee, and was signed into law by President Obama, only applies to bonus agreements made after Feb. 11.

How did Dodd “push for” something that happened without him, over his objections, contradicting what the public shows he actually proposed? If you don’t like FactCheck as a source, go find any other that has actual quotes. The information is there: look it up. The claim that Dodd enabled the AIG debacle is flat-out false. It’s simply a lie, promulgated both by political opponents looking for a scapegoat and supposed allies looking for cover. Believing or repeating it should be beneath anyone who claims to be a responsible citizen.