WASHINGTON — Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will testify July 16 before lawmakers on the government's role in Bank of America Corp.'s acquisition of Merrill Lynch, a congressional panel said Monday.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a letter to Paulson sent Monday to confirm the hearing next month. In the letter, signed by Reps. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., and Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, the lawmakers said Paulson should be prepared to discuss when federal officials became aware of mounting losses at Merrill Lynch and the decision to give Bank of America an additional $20 billion rescue in January.

Paulson's testimony will mark the third in a series of high-profile hearings held by the Oversight panel on the transaction for Merrill Lynch. Bank CEO Kenneth Lewis and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have already faced scrutiny from lawmakers this month, and committee chairman Towns has also suggested he could call officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

At issue is when bank and government officials first realized that government assistance would be needed to ensure the transaction was completed, what threats and promises were made between the government and Bank of America, and the exact series of events that occurred prior to the Jan. 16 announcement of additional government aid.

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