Bernanke To Answer Questions Of A Cover-Up

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is on Capital Hill Thursday responding to charges that the Fed engaged in a cover-up as it aided Bank of America's takeover of Merrill Lynch.

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DAVID GREENE, host:

Also today, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is appearing on Capitol Hill. He's facing questions about the Fed's controversial roll in the shotgun merger of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN: Bernanke appears before the House Oversight Committee. The panel's ranking Republican, Darrell Issa, charges that in addition to engaging in a cover-up, the Fed overstepped its bounds and failed to keep other agencies in the loop. A 10-page memo, prepared for today's hearing by Republican staffers, contains these and other allegations. Some of the charges have been made before. The memo was posted on CNBC's Web site. A spokesman for the Federal Reserve declined to comment.

Previously, Bernanke has defended his actions in the B of A-Merrill deal. Bank of America has received some $45 billion in Federal bailout funds and questions about it's acquisition of Merrill persist. But politics may also be at work, with Republicans asking can the Fed be trusted. The White House recently proposed giving the Fed additional power as part of its new financial regulations.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.

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