WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department's allies fought back last week, as a key House chairman asked thrift regulator Jonathan Fiechter to explain his criticism of the administration's fair-lending prosecutions.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, said Mr. Fiechter's comments could undermine Justice's "efforts to vigorously enforce the laws that Congress has passed to prohibit discrimination in the provision of credit by our nation's financial institutions."

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