How do you like this play?

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Sen. Charles Grassley is so angry over AIG bonuses that he says the executives should resign or kill themselves.

In a comment aired this afternoon on WMT, an Iowa radio station, Grassley (R-Iowa) said: “The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better towards them if they’d follow the Japanese model and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say I’m sorry, and then either do one of two things — resign, or go commit suicide.”

Asked for some explanation:

Grassley spokeswoman Jill Gerber clarified Grassley’s comments, saying “clearly he was speaking rhetorically – he meant there’s no culture of shame and acceptance of responsibility for driving a company into the dirt in this country. If you asked him whether he really wants AIG executives to commit suicide, he’d say of course not.”

But, of course, Sen. Charles ‘Chuck’ Grassley served as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in 2001 (until Sen. Jim Jeffords’ defection) and again from 2003-2007. Even today, Sen. Grassley serves as the highest ranking Republican member of the Finance Committee. While the Banking Committee has more direct oversight over the activities of corporations like AIG, it’s nevertheless true that Sen. Grassley did nothing to protest the lax regulation that led to this financial crisis. The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over financial crimes, the Financial Management Service, and the Internal Revenue Service. If the heart of the blame for AIG should go to Sens. Phil Gramm, Chris Dodd, and Richard Shelby (who all chaired the Banking Committee over the last eight years), I don’t think Sen. Grassley should be feeling so pat that he can recommend seppuku to people other than himself.

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