Congress, the Administration, and the Financial Collapse: Document Search

This was a staple of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's activities during the Bush administration, but new committee Chairman Ed Towns (D-NY) has been going after documents putatively held by the Obama administration as part of his committee's investigation into the financial collapse. Today TPM reported that Towns and Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent letters to the Department of Justice and SEC, threatening them with subpoenas if they don't provide government reports on AIG. Earlier this month, Towns sought documents on Bank of America and Merrill Lynch from the Treasury and Federal Reserve. One wouldn't expect an adversarial start to the House Oversight panel's relationship with the new administration, but the language of today's reported letter sounds foreboding, and it appears that Towns means business--according to TPM's report, it read: "[F]ailure to comply with the Committee's request for the Cole reports raises the prospect that we will be forced to consider compulsory means to achieve compliance."