Republicans and Democrats pummel Geithner at House Oversight hearing on AIG bailout

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Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, was among the most aggressive interrogators pummeling Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner at Wednesday’s House Oversight committee hearing on the 2008 Wall Street bailouts.

Both Republicans and Democrats attacked Geithner, accusing him of dishonesty, incompetence, “punting blame” and relying on “lame excuses.”

Rep. John Mica, a Florida Republican, raised the subject of Geithner’s confirmation, and said he didn’t believe a man who failed to pay taxes should be the highest-ranking finance official in the country. Geithner responded: “You don’t know me.” Mica rebutted that the Geithner was either incompetent or trying to hide something, either of which he said constituted “grounds for his removal.”

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Lynch yelled at Geithner from the bench for a full two minutes, saying he seriously questioned the secretary’s commitment to the American taxpayer and adding “You scalped the folks.” When Geithner maintained he did not have authority to force banks to take a haircut, Lynch said the Fed was rewriting the rules every day and had the leverage to force banks to accept a smaller bailout.

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