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Jan. 24, 2012, 8:37 a.m. EST

Treasury OK'd big bailed out firm CEO pay

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By Ronald D. Orol

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Top executives at seven companies that received large government bailout funds received millions in compensation even though a special office overseeing their pay had the authority to limit their pay packages, a report from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said Tuesday. The institutions are American International Group Inc. /quotes/zigman/557836/quotes/nls/aig AIG -0.59% , Bank of America Corp. /quotes/zigman/190927/quotes/nls/bac BAC +0.55% , Citigroup Inc. /quotes/zigman/5065548/quotes/nls/c C -0.23% , Chrystler financial Services, Chrysler, General Motors /quotes/zigman/1466682/quotes/nls/gm GM -0.52% , and Ally Financial (formerly GMAC). Because of the size of their taxpayer-funded infusions, the government allowed Special Master Kenneth Feinberg and later his successor, Patricia Geoghegan, to set compensation for the top 25 executives at each of these seven companies. According to the report, the seven companies pressured the Office of the Special Master to let them pay executives enough, arguing it was necessary to keep the executives from quitting. Also, the report said Treasury pressured the Office of the Special Master to let the companies pay executives enough to keep the companies competitive and on track to repay TARP funds. The office had the ability to limit pay, but instead it approved pay packages worth $5 million or more over the 2009 to 2011 period to 49 individuals.

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