U.S. automaker General Motors denied it had asked the government for a 20 percent raise for Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson.
"Reports that General Motors has requested an increase in Dan Akerson's 2013 compensation are false. In fact, Dan specifically asked to keep his compensation at the same level for 2013 as it was in 2012 and 2011. That amount of $9 million is what the company submitted to the Office of the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation," GM said in a statement.
However, The Detroit News reported Tuesday the company had requested Akerson be given $11.1 million in 2013. And an official at GM said the CEO would be given, on paper, $11.1 million for 2012, because of $2 million in pay in the form of restricted stock that actually applies to his work from 2011.
"Unfortunately, someone who obviously did not understand the compensation request leaked the information in a way that misrepresented the truth in order to score political points on the eve of a congressional hearing," GM said.
As recipient of $49.5 billion in bailout funds, GM must submit pay requests for its top 25 executives to the Treasury Department for approval.
Christy Romero, inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, said in January the pay packages at GM were too high, the Detroit Free Press reported.
In a statement prepared for Congress, Romero said the Treasury Department failed to reign in high salaries, even though former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said high executive salaries encouraged risk taking that contributed to the financial crisis.
"While taxpayers struggle to overcome the recent financial crisis and look to the U.S. government to put a lid on compensation for executives of firms whose missteps nearly crippled the U.S. financial system, Treasury continues to allow excessive executive pay," Romero said.
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