Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants her likely Democratic rival to tell voters if he received a "taxpayer-backed" bonus from his Wall Street job. Gillibrand is pushing former Tennessee lawmaker, current Merrill Lynch employee, and possible Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. to say whether or not he received cash during a controversial round of bonuses at the end of 2008 from companies that were bailed out with TARP funds.
"Did he receive a bonus? Is it a taxpayer-backed bonus? I think it's essential that he disclose this information and I think it's only fair that New Yorkers have a right to know," said Gillibrand, according to the Observer. After being appointed by Gov. Paterson and getting criticized for her not-so-liberal views, Gillibrand has enjoyed widespread support from Democrats who want Ford to stay out of the race. Ford has touted his independence, and called Gillibrand a "parakeet."
Politico reports that a Ford spokesman refused to say whether or not the 39-year-old New York newcomer received a bonus. In what the Daily News calls a "rather nebulous answer," the spokesman noted: "Harold has a contract that sets a specific amount of compensation." According to an earlier Observer piece, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has requested information about bonuses from Bank of America, which own Merrill Lynch, that could turn out revealing whether or not Ford took home a bonus.