Friday, March 20, 2009

Do-Nothing Boards of Directors

Another post by the progressive Yglesias on Democratic super-diplomat Richard Holbrooke and the financial rot within the Democratic Party:

From the “I Can’t Believe It Took The GOP Oppo Shop Until Just Now to Bring This Up” file, it turns out that from February of 2001 until July of 2008, Richard Holbrooke was on the AIG Board. This has no particular relationship to his work as special envoy to the Afghanistan and Pakistan issues, and I think spokesman Tommy Vietor’s statement that “Mr. Holbrooke had nothing to do with and knew nothing about the bonuses” is quite credible.

But of course it’s a little too credible and points toward the rotten nature of corporate governance in America, as well as the incestuous relationships between our overlapping elites in big-time politics and big-time finance. One assumes Holbrooke had nothing to do with any substantive aspect of AIG’s business—he was just there so AIG could fill the board seat with someone important and unlikely to make any trouble for whatever anyone at the firm was doing.

Ezra Klein says that Holbrook made $800,000 in compensation. For doing what? I don't know whether that's per year or over the entire 7 years. In any case, it's mind-boggling.

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