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Anti-Geithner Sentiment Grows

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," March 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Earlier today, we spoke with Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, is the Secretary of Treasury up to this job?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: Well, that's probably a question of a lot of people are asking. I believe that confidence breeds confidence, and I don't see a lot of confidence in the work thus far of the Treasury Department, and for that matter, the Federal Reserve, as far as the TARP money, the bailouts of AIG, the forthcoming information from AIG of bonuses, and so forth. I think the jury is out.

He works for the President of the United States, but when he came up to the Banking Committee about a month ago, he had a lot of fanfare about it, and I said then he wasted about four hours of the Senate's time. And I hope that we see something. But up to now, I think the jury is still out.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask a blunter question. Should the president fire him, or should he resign?

SHELBY: Well, up -- up -- I've said that's up -- he works for the president. That's up to the president. I haven't called for his resignation yet, but I have asked a lot of serious questions, as you've asked tonight. When -- when are they going to do something that's really substantive that the American people can believe in? There's no trust tonight, as we talk, about -- in the banking system. There's not a lot of trust in the handling of AIG. And there's certainly no trust by the American people in the situation regarding the bonuses. You know, why are you rewarding people who have failed already? And I don't believe these people are the only people that can unwind a lot of derivatives.

VAN SUSTEREN: You've been busy writing letters today. Who've you sent letters to?

SHELBY: Well, I sent a letter to the president, the secretary of the Treasury and also to the Federal Reserve chairman and to the CEO of -- Liddy -- of AIG. And what I was asking for, basically, to the president and the others -- it's come out in the stimulus package that something happened regarding grandfathering in those bonuses. A lot of people didn't know what was in that bill, it was so vast. I voted against it. I knew it was trouble when it came about, but I didn't know how much. And we'd like to know who did this. Was Treasury behind grandfathering these bonuses in? Who was?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you see, here's the distressing thing. Senator Dodd is taking some heat for this. He said that when he last saw the bill, it didn't have that provision in it which, in essence, enables these payments, these bonuses to be made. But the thing that's so troubling is the American people think, Well, when it came out, didn't anybody look at this? Did anybody read it? Instead, it just gets voted on. So it's a lousy excuse that, It wasn't that condition before I sent it off. It's -- what was the condition of the bill when it -- when you voted?

SHELBY: Well, I didn't vote for it. I voted against the bill because I thought it was hastily put together. It was, you know, $800 billion, more or less, for a lot of dubious programs that I didn't believe in. But I can tell you, a lot of things happen up here, you know, late at night, early in the morning. And they -- I was told that they were still putting some of the parts of the bill when we were voting on it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Senator Reid's office says he doesn't know who was at the conference when that provision was put in.

SHELBY: Well, I was not on the conference committee. If I had been and I'd seen something like that, I would have tried to -- you know, objected to it and stopped it. But I was not there. But we want to know who was and why they did that.

Watch Greta's interview with Sen. Shelby

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Speaker Pelosi doesn't know who was there. She was not part of that. She was not there. Is there some sort of record that we can track down so we know who was there? I mean, is that sort of the protocol or rules of the Senate, so at least the American people can find out who was there?

SHELBY: Oh, I think you can find out who sponsored or who put the provision together, the grandfathering in the bonuses, so to speak. That's what we want to know.

VAN SUSTEREN: Your letter to the president -- tell me the mechanics. You write the letter. Do you messenger it over to the White House?

SHELBY: Yes, we send it down. And the Senate has a way to do that, and I'm sure it's there already.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you gotten any response back?

SHELBY: Oh, no. I don't expect a quick response, but I think we will have a response.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you sent a letter to the president before, since he's been in office?

SHELBY: That's my first one. I thought this was very important for the American people to know why and where and when.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you could ask Secretary Geithner one question tonight, what's your question?

SHELBY: Mr. Secretary, did you know and did you have anything to do with grandfathering in those bonuses in that night?

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Senator.

SHELBY: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)


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