HARTFORD - State lawmakers questioned an AIG executive in Hartford Thursday about the $165 million in bonuses the company paid to employees after receiving a massive federal bailout.

Stephen Blake testified before the legislature's Banks Committee, which is looking into why American International Group, Inc. handed out bonuses to employees in the financial products group after receiving bailout money. Blake is head of human resources for the Wilton, Conn.-based division.

Blake told the committee he's not a lawyer and can't speak about the legal reasons behind the bonuses. New York-based AIG has said it paid the bonuses partly because of Connecticut's wage law. Blake also said many AIG employees in Connecticut have received death threats.

Besides questioning the bonuses, several Republicans including Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, of Fairfield, questioned the process leading to the hearing.

"I think if we want to get to the bottom of how these AIG bonuses became part of the federal bailout package, we could probably learn more from Sen. Dodd than we could from the AIG individuals here to testify," he said.

AP wire services were used in this report.