New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank are demanding that Bank of America Corp. disclose bonuses of $1 million or more paid last year to employees at the Charlotte company or at the recently acquired Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.
Frank and Cuomo requested bonus details in a letter to B of A chief executive Ken Lewis dated Monday. The two have maintained that, since the companies received $45 billion in direct assistance through the Troubled Asset Relief Program and another $188 billion of insurance guarantees, there should be disclosure about the $3.6 billion Merrill spent on bonuses and the roughly $3.3 billion B of A paid.
Frank and Cuomo questioned Merrill's decision to move up its planned date for awarding bonuses, "knowing full well that they were going to suffer huge losses for the fourth quarter and the year."
"Taxpayers who are footing the bill obviously demand accountability and want to know who received these funds and why," wrote Frank and Cuomo in the letter. "Your refusal to reveal compensation information fuels distrust and cynicism at a most sensitive time."
A spokesman for B of A said the request was far broader than a previous inquiry from Cuomo, which sought bonus information for Merrill Lynch executives.
"Bank of America has continued to offer to share Merrill Lynch bonus information with the New York Attorney General's office subject to a reasonable confidentially agreement," the spokesman said.