Saturday, June 20, 2009

Federal Reserve Subpeoned

House committee subpoenas Federal Reserve

The congressional panel investigating what happened to all that bank bailout money has issued a subpoena to the Federal Reserve, asking them to hand over all documents relating to the takeover of Merrill Lynch by the Bank of America.

On January 1, BofA finalized its purchase of Merrill Lynch for just over $29.1 billion. That made the bank eligible for an additional $20 billion in federal rescue money, bringing BofA's total to some $45 billion. Now, Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY) want to know exactly what the banks and the Federal Reserve agreed to when they arranged the deal last year.

Full text of the press release from Kucinich's office:

Washington D.C. (June 8, 2009) -- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) today served a subpoena on the Federal Reserve (the Fed) to compel it to turn over documents related to Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

The full committee and Domestic Policy Subcommittee, under the leadership of Chairman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), have been investigating the circumstances surrounding the federal government’s bailout of the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch transaction. Specific documents subpoenaed include emails, notes of conversations and other documents.

New York Attorney-General Andrew Cuomo has claimed that, in 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke strong-armed BofA into buying Merrill -- a move that, if true, could expose Paulson and Bernanke to prosecution.

Last week, news services reported that the House had asked Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. That hearing takes place on Thursday (June 11).

-- Daniel Tencer

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