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Andrew J. Hall

Andrew J. Hall

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WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- As its new pay czar prepares to evaluate compensation packages at financial firms receiving significant government aid, the White House said Citigroup Inc.'s (C) potential $100 million contract with an energy trader may be "a bit out of whack." "I think one could easily come to the conclusion that that's probably a bit out of whack on any pay scale," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday.

Citigroup's top energy trader, Andrew J.

Hall, could be paid up to $100 million for this year under a profit-sharing contract with the bank, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The case is expected to be an early test for Kenneth Feinberg, the Treasury Department's pay czar, who must address public outrage over Wall Street excess without hurting the financial sector's ability to lure top talent.

Feinberg oversees the pay for the 100 highest-paid employees at Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp.

(BAC), American International Group Inc.

(AIG), General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC, Chrysler Financial and GMAC Financial Services Inc.

Those firms must submit proposals for their compensation packages by mid-August.

"I don't think people in this country begrudge that some people make a lot of money for what they do, as long as what they're doing and getting paid for that doesn't put the rest of us at some appreciable risk," Gibbs said.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress to pass a shareholder say-on-pay bill to address compensation practices.

-By Henry J.

Pulizzi, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9256; henry.pulizzi@ (END) Dow Jones Newswires 07-27-09 1530ET Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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