Pay Czar Says Cutting Compensation is not Vindictive or Punitive

Special Pay Master, Kenneth Feinberg, denies taking "vindictive and punitive" actions against the seven companies whose executive compensation he cut.  The seven companies - Citigroup, Bank of America, General Motors, Chrysler, GMAC, Chrysler Financial and American International Group - all received about $250 billion in bailout funds.  Feinberg insists "getting the taxpayers money back" is the number one priority. He initially rejected all seven companies original compensation proposals for their highest paid 25 employees, calling them excessively generous.

Fox News Channel's Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett interviewed Mr. Feinberg Thursday on his decision. Feinberg says he is not a "czar" because he does not hand down "imperial edicts" to be followed but he does admit that his decision is final. Each company can appeal its decision within a 30-day window but that appeal goes straight back to the same person who issued the compensation cut in the first place, Kenneth Feinberg.

Feinberg's compensation plan is based on a yearly cash salary of $500,000 as well as "salarized stock" and "incentive-based stock bonuses." He hopes to influence behavior across Wall Street by utilizing the long term stock bonuses so that each executive's compensation is tied to future performances of the company.  "The value of the stock will depend on how well that company does in the market place," Feinberg tells Major Garrett.

During the interview, Feinberg says he spent five months negotiating in person or on the phone with the companies to come up with an acceptable compensation plan. While Feinberg describes the negotiations as "intense," he also says "I think we succeeded. I think overall it was a very healthy degree of cooperation."

Tune in Thursday to "Special Report with Bret Baier" to see Major Garrett's story about executive compensation cuts.

Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett contributed to this report.