WASHINGTON — A House lawmaker is demanding Bank of America Corp. turn over new documents to investigators about its decision to not publicly disclose ballooning losses at Merrill Lynch & Co. ahead of a shareholder vote last December.
Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, on Thursday sent a letter to Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis asking for a wide range of documents covering the details surrounding the deal for Merrill Lynch.
The documents requested include emails and documents dealing with losses and loss projections at Merrill Lynch; records covering negotiations with the federal government on bailout funds received by the bank; and the details of any legal advice received by the bank on disclosure of the losses or government aid.
Towns set a deadline of noon EDT on Aug. 14 for Bank of America to turn over the documents.
The request is the latest twist in an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Oversight panel that has seen Lewis, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson all testify under oath before lawmakers in recent months.
Investigators are requesting the documents in response to a Wall Street Journal story on Thursday that suggested company documents challenge Bank of America's claims that the losses at Merrill Lynch didn't begin to swell until after the Dec. 5 shareholder vote. A Dec. 3 email cited in the Journal story revealed that the loss projections for Merrill Lynch swelled by nearly $2 billion in the days leading up to the vote, but that company executives decided they were not material enough to disclose publicly to shareholders.