Thursday, June 11, 2009

Congressional Investigation on Merrill Lynch Purchase but Not LifeCare Deaths?

Why does Congress investigate one situation and not another? When do they subpoena e-mails and other documents and when do they let putrid things lie? The answer might be politics.

Take the investigation of government leaders and regulators on the purchase of Merrill Lynch. Treasury Chief Hank Paulson may have overstepped his bounds, but which Bush minion didn't? The Obama team expressly avoids any torture investigation, wanting to move forward. Funny, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis feels likewise on his firm's purchase of Merrill. He wants to move forward.

So why the pressure? Paulson is already a private citizen. Lewis needs to stay on the good side of government and the regulators to keep his job. That leaves Fed Chief Ben Bernanke. Someone wants his backside. Is it Larry Summers, the quirky, oddball academic? Rumors have Larry wanting the Fed Chief role. Is this political theater crafted to open the door for a Summers term at the Fed?

Who could deliver this juicy story? Wasn't Tim Geithner head of the New York Fed? Wouldn't the BOA/Merrill Lynch deal flow through Tim's hands? Did Tim take his insider knowledge of excess strong arming and offer it to Rahm Emanuel, Obama's political architect? Did Rahm offer the goody to a Congressional committee, one badly needing to look competent and heroic?

I surmise the wrong people are on the stand. Geithner should testify under oath first. His testimony will show who should be called next.

I'm glad Congress recalled how to subpoena e-mails and documents after their Hurricane Katrina abdication. The people's legislature allowed the Bush administration to submit a pitiful Katrina Lessons Learned report. Who omits the hospital with the highest patient death toll? Bush and report author Frances Townsend did. Their political friends benefited.

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