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Bank of America was forced to take over Merrill Lynch

Rep. Towns: gov't didn't force BofA, Merrill deal
By MARCY GORDON (AP) – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON — A senior House Democrat says the government didn't force Bank of America to take over Merrill Lynch and bank executives knew they had little chance of legally being able to back out of the deal.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns says "the government did not elbow its way into this transaction."

The New York Democrat says earlier testimony by Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis and documents obtained by the panel show it was the bank that forced the merger.

But California Republican Darrell Issa says the panel's work "has become an apparent cover-up of the continuing activities of the Obama administration," especially of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Geithner was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the time of the merger in December 2008.

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