WASHINGTON (AFP) — President George W. Bush's chief spokeswoman expressed outrage Wednesday at reports that AIG executives spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a spa retreat after the US government rescued the firm.
"I understand why the American people would be outraged. I am. It's pretty despicable," Dana Perino told reporters.
She spoke after US lawmakers were told that AIG spent more than 440,000 dollars for an executive getaway at a California beach resort just days after the insurance giant was rescued by an 85-billion-dollar US government loan.
Bush lobbied for a 700-billion-dollar bailout package to help the US public, said Perino, who stressed: "He did not do that to help top executives and certainly not to help executives go to a spa."
The US Federal Reserve stepped in to save American International Group from imminent collapse on September 16, with a loan that gave the US government a stake of 79.9 percent in the insurance behemoth in the deal.
"Less than one week later, AIG held a week-long retreat for company executives at the exclusive St. Regis resort in Monarch Beach, California," Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Tuesday.
Invoices showed that AIG paid the Pacific Ocean getaway resort more than 440,000 dollars, Waxman told the committee on its second day of hearings on the Wall Street economic crisis.
The charges included close to 200,000 dollars for rooms -- which cost between 425 and 1,200 dollars per night -- over 150,000 for meals and 23,000 in spa charges, he said.
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