Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan said a lawmaker's claims that he inappropriately steered PNC Financial Services Group Inc. into a deal to buy National City Corp. were "baseless."

In a letter Tuesday to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Rep. Steven LaTourette called for an investigation and said Mr. Dugan arranged the deal because PNC was a client of his when he was in the private sector.

In a letter to the Ohio Republican, Mr. Dugan acknowledged that he represented both Nat City and PNC when he was a partner at Covington & Burling LLP, but said that had no bearing on the deal. "This suggestion is absolutely baseless, and I am astonished that you would make such sweeping allegations without checking the facts," Mr. Dugan wrote. "Since becoming comptroller, I have scrupulously followed all ethics rules regarding those relationships."

Rep. LaTourette he said was upset in part because the Treasury's decision not to grant Nat City a capital injection killed the company. PNC used its $7.7 billion injection to make the deal.

"I am very concerned that the comptroller first deprived bailout money to National City Bank and then orchestrated its sale to his former client, PNC," Rep. LaTourette wrote. "The officials at PNC have made it very clear that they were only able to buy National City because they got a $7.7 billion handout from the government."

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