The administration's new Executive Compensation Special Master, as Marc reported earlier, will be able to veto compensation plans for the 100 most highly paid employees at companies receiving "exceptional" assistance from the government--companies whose help has gone beyond that of regular TARP firms.

The firms that fall under that category, as laid out by a senior Treasury official in a conference call with reporters today, are: AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America, GM, GMAC, Chrysler, and Chrysler Financial. Their top 100 employees' pay will be subject to the Special Master's approval.

Under the new regulations announced today, "exceptional" assistance companies are those "receiving assistance under the programs for Systemically Significant Failing Institutions and the Targeted Investment Program and [or?] the Automotive Industry Financing Program," the Treasury official said. More broadly, they're firms receiving assistance not generally available to their peers, the official said.