In a New York Times op-ed over the weekend, former New York attorney general and governor Eliot Spitzer and two law professors, Frank Partnoy and William Black, urged the government to publish AIG's internal emails and accounting documents online. Disclosing the documents, they argued, would facilitate an "open source," participatory probe into the insurance corporation's collapse and subsequent rescue.
This morning, Spitzer continued to press that the documents should be released for public scrutiny on Dylan Ratigan's "Morning Meeting", where he debated the point with Henry Blodget, editor of The Business Insider.
While Spitzer and Blodget agreed that the public -- we own an 80 percent stake in AIG -- has a right to understand what happened when the company was bailed out and why, Blodget insisted that emails were just "one piece of the puzzle" and that additional evidence such as meetings and voicemails should be considered.
Spitzer agreed the emails were only part of the investigation, but insisted that they are "a critical piece that will permit us to put this story together" and will address crucial questions surrounding the AIG bailout:
"What was the relationship between AIG and Goldman, AIG and the Fed, AIG and Treasury, what was known bottom to top. These are critical questions that the taxpayer deserves to know...We deserve to know because our financial future depends upon it."
At issue, according to Spitzer and Blodget, is the extent to which Goldman Sachs was exposed to AIG's risk -- and whether the government's decision to pay 100 cents on the dollar for AIG's contracts with banks was done to forestall Goldman's collapse.
"The allegation is that AIG was trying to solve the problem on its own, going to Goldman, saying, 'Take sixty cents.' Suddenly Geithner charges in, says, 'Don't worry, we'll make you completely whole.' That is a huge problem, and to Eliot's point, we have to know what happened there, why that mistake was made, because I think it's universally viewed as a mistake."
And if Goldman's survival did hinge on AIG's rescue, Spitzer said, "it puts them in a whole different position, at so many different levels, in terms of salaries, what they do, regulatory status -- and it reframes the entire debate and sheds light on how they've conducted their business."
Watch Spitzer and Blodget discuss the merits of airing AIG's internal documents for public review below:
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