BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – Vermont’s junior senator is asking Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to block bonuses for executives at the nation’s nine largest banks that were recently propped up with taxpayer funds.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has written to Paulson that he should also freeze shareholder dividends for investors in banks aided with the recently passed $700 billion rescue package.

Sanders cites a report in Forbes saying year-end bonuses totaling more than $71 billion have already been budgeted by companies including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and others.

Sanders says instead of the bonuses, taxpayer money should go to help homeowners refinance troubled mortgages.

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