Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and 7 of her Congressional Black Caucus colleagues on the Financial Services Committee today called on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to ensure that the Department provide for the inclusion of minorities, women, and minority- and women-owned businesses in its upcoming auction of U.S. Government stock in American International Group (AIG).
The text of the letter follows:
January 19, 2011
The Honorable Timothy Geithner
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20220
Dear Secretary Geithner,
According to recent news reports, the Treasury Department is in the beginning stages of preparing to auction the government's majority stake in American International Group (AIG), which intends to convert the Treasury's preferred shares into common stock. This stock represents a 92.1% stake in AIG and has an implied value of over $75 billion. In addition, according to these reports, Treasury intends to divide the shares into smaller groupings so it can be sold in several offerings. We hope that you take the steps necessary to ensure that in what might be the biggest stock sale in American history that minorities, women, and minority- and women-owned businesses are fairly and fully included at all stages of this process as it moves forward.
A major undertaking of this nature demands the inclusion of a diverse group of investment and banking companies. Unfortunately, minority- and women-owned businesses are frequently excluded from participation in ventures of this size. The lack of inclusion of women and minorities is why we drafted Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-203), which calls for the establishment of Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion at all of the government's financial services agencies, including the Treasury. One of the duties of the Directors of these Offices is to advise the agency administrator on the impacts of agency policies and programs on minority- and women-owned businesses. Furthermore, the law also calls for the Director to develop standards to increase the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in the programs and contracts of the agency.
While the law requires that the Offices be established by January 21, 2011, we would hope that the Department would not wait until this date to meet its obligations under the law. Given the size of this sale and the opportunity for a large number of banks and investment firms of all sizes to participate, we strongly urge you to comply with the letter and the spirit of Section 342 and provide for the inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses in any potential offerings of stock for sale.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO)
Rep. David Scott (D-GA)
Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Rep. André Carson (D-IN)