Dems To Introduce Bill To Tax AIG Bonuses

Dems never met a tax they didn’t like

The AIG bonuses outrage has Congress moving at warp-speed.

House Democratic leaders announced that a bill designed to tax the bonuses out of existence will come to the House floor Thursday, mere days after the news of the $165 million payout to employees of the embattled American International Group.

The legislation would levy a stiff 90 percent tax on bonuses paid by any financial firm receiving more than $5 billion in federal funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Fund.

Well, it’s not like any Democrat (cough*Dodd*cough) created the bonuses loophole, right? Or that Geithner and others in the Obamateur admin knew about this much earlier then they said, right? Or that this would violate Article I, Section 9 of that pesky Constitution thing, No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. Not that Dems have ever really cared about the Constitution when it is in the way. Where’s the ACLU?

Dan Riehl is wondering if this can be Constitutional, too.

However, it appears that a vote was taken this evening, and a majority of House Democrats voted to allow the people at AIG who got bonuses to keep them. How ’bout that?

Thursday More: Kim Priestap’s husband, who is a “small town lawyer,” discusses the issue, and

Now, I am only a simple small town lawyer and not a constitutional lawyer like President Obama, but I find it odd and bitterly amusing that our President once dabbled in teaching that subject. Apparently his studies never included Article I, Section 9, clause 3 of that document, which expressly forbids “bills of attainder.”‘ Of course, I’m sure Professor Obama spent plenty of time teaching his students about penumbras, but it might serve him well to take a short refresher course. What’s a bill of attainder? It’s a law that is written that is specifically aimed at an individual or small group of individuals, with the express purpose of punishing or penalizing them in some fashion. It is also referred to as a “private bill.” The British did this on a regular basis in the 1700s, which is one reason why the Constitution absolutely forbids it. The idea of taxing specific employees of AIG in order to “recover” their bonuses is an almost perfect example of a bill of attainder.

Well, since we’re talking about the Constitution, that inconvenient old document, let’s keep reading Article I, since section 9 also prohibits the passage of ex post facto laws. An ex post facto law is one that is passed after the event to which it relates has occurred (another favorite strategy of the British.) If Congress were to make the receipt of these bonuses taxable at a rate different than they are taxable now, and then enact a criminal penalty for the failure to pay, it would clearly be an ex post facto law and therefore would violate Article I. I suspect even Stephen Breyer would agree with that conclusion.

And he keeps going, mentioning things that Mr. “Constitutional Lawyer” and the lawyers who work in Congress should know.

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