Sen. Richard C. Shelby and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Donna A. Tanoue are duking it out over the FDIC's participation at a community development conference.

In a testy letter, the Alabama Republican accused Ms. Tanoue of engaging in "political activism" by cosponsoring the National Community Reinvestment Coalition's annual parley two weeks ago. The event featured breakout sessions such as "How You and Your Bank Can Collaborate on an Effective Reinvestment Plan."

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