Is a million dollars a lot of money anymore? Little surprise, Donald Trump doesn't think so. And I'm sure Hank Greenburg simply reached into his wallet and pulled out crisp greenbacks to pay his $15 million fine to the SEC. This is a man who lost $6 billion in one day last September, and showed up on Neil Cavuto that afternoon for a nice chat. Think such a paltry sum will give him pause? Think again. I'm no Hank fan. He's probably the worst delegator in the history of the world (hyperbole be damned). After 40 years of running the insurance behemoth, he retired and the lid popped. Without the company schematic that seems to have existed only in his brain, organization, efficiency, competence -- hell, even a basic sense of right and wrong -- boiled over. But it was his company, his culture.
This isn't to let the SEC off the hook. The charges they made were so vague they made Palin's resignation speech look academic by comparison. From the Financial Times:
"[The charges said] simply that "as a control person of AIG" he was 'aware of transactions that enabled AIG to create the false impression that it consistently met or exceeded expectations' on performance goals."
The Times refers to them as the "newly aggressive SEC." If this is the best they can do, a half-hearted throw from centerfield that lands short of second base, future Madoffs needn't worry.