Cummings calls for AIG's Benmosche to step down over comments

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, called for the head of AIG to resign over comments he made comparing outrage over executive bonuses to lynchings that took place in the South.

AIG CEO Robert Benmosche, who took over the company after it received millions in federal bailout money, told the Wall Street Journal that anger over subsequent bonuses paid to executives was "sort of like what we did in the Deep South."

Attention on the bonuses, he continued, "was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that."

Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, was among the most vocal critics of the AIG bonuses at the time.

"As the leading critic of AIG's lavish spending before and after its taxpayer funded bailout -- and as the son of sharecroppers who actually experienced lynchings in their communities -- I find it unbelievably appalling that Mr. Benmosche equates the violent repression of the African American people with congressional efforts to prevent the waste of taxpayer dollars," Cummings said in a statement.

"If these statements are true, I believe he has demonstrated a fundamental inability to lead this modern global company in a responsible manner -- a company that exists today only because it was rescued by the American taxpayers -- and that he should resign his position as CEO immediately," Cummings said.

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