WALL STREET

Paulson Defends Pressuring BoA

Some may call it bullying—or threatening—but former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson calls his involvement in Bank of America's takeover of Merrill Lynch "appropriate," according to The Wall Street Journal's account of remarks Paulson prepared for a House panel on Thursday. Last year, when BofA Chief Executive Ken Lewis was having second thoughts about the deal—after learning the extent of Merrill's problems—Paulson stepped in, telling Lewis that abandoning it would show a "colossal lack of judgment" and "jeopardize Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and the financial system." He also suggested that BofA management could be ousted if he walked away. Paulson's testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will defend his actions and will mark one of his first public appearances since leaving office in January—and a rare attempt by the former Goldman Sachs Group chairman to defend his legacy.