Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Troubling Details" of Bernanke's Role in the AIG Bailout

Do emails exist that show the Federal Reserve staff didn't believe a bailout of AIG was necessary? If so, what caused Bernanke to overrule his staff in favor of a bailout? Is Bernanke hiding documents to keep investigators from probing in this direction?

These are the latest questions surfacing as Bernanke's confirmation vote hangs in the balance.

Ryan Grim reports:
A Republican senator said Tuesday that documents showing Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernake covered up the fact that his staff recommended he not bailout AIG are being kept from the public. And a House Republican charged that a whistleblower had alerted Congress to specific documents provide "troubling details" of Bernanke's role in the AIG bailout.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), a Bernanke critic, said on CNBC that he has seen documents showing that Bernanke overruled such a recommendation. If that's the case, it raises questions about whether bailing out AIG was actually necessary, and what Bernanke's motives were.

A letter Bunning sent Monday to Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) also refers to an "[e]mail exchange regarding restructuring of assistance to AIG, initiated by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner" in March 2009.
What's going on here? Are events and emails simply starting to catch up to Bernanke and Geithner, or is this a controlled demolition of the two by forces unknown?

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