Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says his role in Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch was appropriate and necessary, MarketWatch reports. “I am confident that our responses were substantially correct and that they saved this nation from great peril,” Paulson told a House oversight committee today in response to concerns he and the Fed ordered the deal against the will of BofA’s CEO.
Some Democratic lawmakers have questions for that CEO, Ken Lewis, too. Committee chair Edolphus Towns says he thinks Lewis was trying to “shake down” federal officials by agreeing to the deal in exchange for $20 billion in bailout funds. “Was Bank of America really forced to go through with this deal, or was this an old-fashioned shakedown?” Towns asked.