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Area Congressional Leaders Fear Taxing AIG Bonuses Is Unconstitutional

Washington, DC — Mother Lode Republican Congressional leaders Dan Lungren and George Radanovich are raising concerns about whether it is constitutionally legal to impose a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to top executives of AIG.

“The American people deserve to get 100 percent, not 90 percent of their money back,” says Radanovich in a statement. “However, in doing so, we should not be using the tax code as a weapon, especially when there are potential constitutional ramifications.”

Lungren ripped up a piece of paper on the House floor Thursday afternoon, which was to symbolize the Constitution.

In his speech, Lungren stated, “In the stimulus package an amendment was adopted that the majority put in stating that provisions in the TARP and stimulus bills that limited compensation payments would not apply to ‘any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009.’ It was written specifically to protect the very bonuses that we’re talking about here today. And so now we’re asking how do we undo what we did? And the majority has brought to us a bill that doesn’t recognize the truth of the Constitution. There is something called a bill of attainder. You can’t punish a group because you don’t like them. You can’t have them treated more onerously than somebody else without a trial.”

The measure to place a 90 percent tax on bonuses was approved in the House and initially blocked in the Senate. Democratic leaders in the Senate say they will bring the issue back up for a vote next week.

Written by bjhansen@mlode.com