Well, this should be fun!
A Congressional panel wants to get to the bottom of what the hell happened when Bank of America (BAC) bought Merrill Lynch. Recall that according to Ken Lewis’ testimony, he wanted to get out of the deal when he discovered Merrill’s December losses, but was pursuaded/bullied not to by Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner, who said it was a matter of systemic risk to the system, and that he and his board could be canned if he actually backed out.
Right now they’re just going for emails and notes and various documents, says CNBC, which the Fed has refused to hand over voluntarily. Not clear if there will be hearings, but that’s what we really want to see.
From WSJ: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D., N.Y.), has asked the Fed to turn over documents requested by the panel last week. The documents requested include emails to and from Chairman Ben Bernanke, as well as handwritten notes from meetings and conversations involving Bernanke, then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis.
The request is being made ahead of a Thursday hearing in which Mr. Lewis is scheduled to appear before House lawmakers. Congressional investigators have been investigating the details of Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch, as well as the government’s decision to give the company $20 billion in additional government aid in January.