Feinberg cuts pay at bailout firms

The federal government's pay czar has slashed compensation packages for executives at five firms that received large taxpayer bailouts.

Kenneth Feinberg, the special paymaster, cut overall cash payouts by an average of 33 percent from 2009 levels. The cuts affect the top 25 executives at companies that received a heavy amount of assistance. Those five companies are: American International Group (AIG), Chrysler, Chrysler Financial, General Motors and GMAC.

Total pay packages for those same executives were cut by 15 percent on average. And cash salaries for 82 percent of executives remained at $500,000.

Separately, Feinberg is seeking compensation information for possibly thousands of executives at firms that received taxpayer bailouts.

In a letter on Tuesday, Feinberg requested information about pay practices for the top 25 executives at 419 firms that received aid. Feinberg is conducting a review of pay practices during the months between when the bailout recipient received aid and when his office was created in February 2009. The bailout package passed Congress in October 2008.

Feinberg is limiting the review to executives who made more than $500,000 to reduce burdens on small banks, many of which received assistance.

Feinberg said he may pursue compensation adjustments if he determines the payments were contrary to the public interest.