Paulson to defend BoA-Merrill actions in testimony

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will deny any inappropriate actions to pressure or manipulate Bank of America into accepting a buyout of Merrill Lynch during the height of the financial crisis last year.

Paulson acknowledged that he brought up the Federal Reserve's ability to remove Bank of America's corporate management, but defended his actions to prevent a collapse in the deal as entirely appropriate, and on his own behalf.

Paulson is set to testify tomorrow before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has investigated the government involvement in the BoA-Merrill deal. Republicans on the committee have asserted that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has lied or been misleading in testimony about his role in the deal.

"Although attention has recently focused on brief moments of stress during the events of December 2008, those moments are not foremost in my recollection," Paulson will tell the committee.

"What I recall most vividly is a nation faced with the threat of an unparalleled economic crisis and the efforts of the men and women from both the public and private sectors who worked hard to steer our country away from that precipice," he'll continue. "It was my privilege to work with them, and I am proud of what we accomplished."

Read the entire prepared testimony here.

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