ABC News makes our head hurt, again

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

With this doozy:

Will Obama, McCain, Dodd Return Contributions From AIG Employees? AIG Gave More Than $630,000 During the 2008 Political Cycle

That was the ABC headline online. Try--just try--to follow the article's logic:

AIG employees kept doling out donations to politicians, including presidential candidate Barack Obama, after getting bailed out with federal funds last year, raising the question of whether those politicians will now return the money.

For those keeping track, the government first bailed out AIG last September, right at the very end of the campaign season. How much money did AIG employees donate after the bailout? According the Center for Responsive Politics, the post-bailout donations for all the candidates totaled $120,000.

Only one-sixth of AIG donations from the campaign season came after the bailout. According to ABC's reporting, Obama landed $23,000 from AIG employees post-bailout.

Or, to put that in perspective, out of the more than $700 million the Obama campaign raised, .003 percent came from AIG, post-bailout, if my calculations are correct.

But now ABC wants to know if Obama's going to return the money. Why? ABC answers that question with a question:

Was any bailout money used to make political contributions?

Unless the government bailout money, doled out in late September, was immediately used by AIG to make payroll in October, in time for employees to donate to candidates, the obvious answer to that question is no, the bailout money was not used to make the rather modest contributions offered up by AIG employees.

But even if it had been, why would any recipient be under pressure to return it now, months after the campaign ended?

FYI, the September bailout for AIG totaled $85 billion. ABC wants to know if .0002 percent was donated to candidates.

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