I realize the delivery of bonuses to AIG employees is an area of great concern, both legally and ethically. I know there are others looking at the legality of paying this money. As for the ethical issue, I would like to propose the following.
Each recipient has the option to keep or return their bonus. Those who choose to keep the money, do so with the understanding that they will be barred from working for the US Government. Should they accept employment, the company in which they are employed will not be allowed to accept contracts from the US Government.
I realize one may argue that this will preclude the government from availing itself of the talents of these individuals. However, while one might argue that these individuals are extremely knowledgeable in their fields (though I believe their performance belies this), I think there is a larger issue to consider. Do we want someone who accepted the bonus money working for our government?
President Obama speaks often and passionately about changing the ethics and culture of Wall Street. I, for one, am prepared to forego expertise in exchange for ethics.
Thank you for your consideration.