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Saving money should not be expensive. Compensation “clawbacks” are a legal mechanism for companies to reclaim employee compensation, but the legislative framework is complex and disorganized. There are four primary federal claw-back provisions: Sarbanes-Oxley § 304, Dodd-Frank § 954, 12 U.S.C.A. § 5221(TARP), and Dodd-Frank § 956—as well as voluntary contractual clawback policies. This comment untangles the web of clawback legislation by overlaying each clawback mechanism to extract a single, clear, and concise description of executive compensation clawbacks, called the “Comprehensive Clawback Coverage.” The Comprehensive Clawback Coverage reveals a major flaw in the legal and regulatory framework: clawbacks increase agency costs. In other words, they are expensive. The logical solution involves legislative repeal, legislative amendment, or regulatory policy shift with respect to executive compensation clawback provisions.

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