Does This Explain DOJ Reluctance to Turn Over AIG Monitoring Documents?

TPMM has two posts noting that DOJ has been reluctant to turn over to the Oversight Committee the documents pertaining to its Delayed Prosecution Agreement with AIG, whereas SEC has been more forthcoming.

Last month, as we noted at the time, House Oversight committee chair Ed Towns formally asked the Justice Department for records kept by a government monitor, who since 2004 has had access to high-level internal deliberations at AIG.

But DOJ seems to be dragging its heels.

Today — 15 days after Towns made his legally binding request, and 13 days after the deadline he set for Justice to respond — department spokesman Ian McCaleb told TPMmuckraker: "We’re working on submitting a response." Asked what was causing the hold up, McCaleb declined to elaborate.

At issue is information compiled by James Cole, a lawyer with Bryan Cave, who was placed as a government monitor inside AIG, as part of a 2004 deferred prosecution agreement after AIG had been charged with helping clients avoid taxes. As Towns put it in his letter, Cole "had a seat at the table" for the string of cataclysmic developments at AIG over the last few years. Whatever reports or other information he compiled could therefore be of great value to investigators, like Towns, who are probing the causes of last fall’s financial collapse, which was triggered by the failure of AIG’s Financial Products unit.

There are a couple of data points that might begin to explain DOJ’s reluctance to turn over what it has received from Cole.

First, DOJ signed not one, but two deferred prosecution agreements with AIG. The first, in 2004, pertained to a scheme AIG-FP engaged in with PNC to shift assets off its books. The second, in 2006, pertained to a deal with Gen Re, again to shift assets around to hide risk. Now, both these schemes go back to 2000 and 2001; the actions AIG took did not take place while Cole was monitoring it. Nevertheless, AIG got two bites at the Delayed Prosecution Agreement, which does not appear to be true for any other corporations as of May of last year.  And, as this article on these early scams make clear, the intent was largely the same with both: to hide risk. So you might think AIG’s failure to admit to the second scheme until 2005 would undermine its claim to be cooperating in good faith with the DPA in 2004.

More interesting, though, is the squabble that the Fraud section at DOJ had with the US Attorney’s office in CT a few weeks back.  Read more