I'd never heard of Maxine Waters, a congresswoman from California, until 20 minutes ago, but she will stay with me for a long time to come. Here she is questioning several bank CEOs, notably Ken Lewis from Bank of America and Vikram Pandit from Citi: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylufIKArbfk]
The whole exchange is sadly funny (surely the Germans have a compound noun for this?), but I literally laughed out loud--several times--at one bit starting at 5'20" in which the following dialogue occurs:
Rep. Waters: I think it's important for us to understand why you paid yourself fees on the money that we gave you? As a matter of fact Bank of America, you paid yourself $30 million in fees just to accept that TARP money. Citigroup, you paid yourself $21 million in fees. Why do you do that?
Ken Lewis: I...I don't know what you're talking about.
Rep. Waters: Do you...do...do...do any of you understand what I'm talking about...?
Keep in mind that Waters is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services. Wall Street bankers aren't the only ones who have failed to perform due diligence, it seems.
HT: Megan McArdle