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Treasury chief seeking power over hedge funds

Houston Chronicle – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will ask Congress to bring large hedge funds, private-equity firms and derivatives markets under federal supervision for the first time as part of a revamp of U.S. financial rules.

The Treasury chief will present his proposed framework at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington today. Under the new so-called rules of the road, the government would get powers to seize and wind down any financial company big enough to destabilize the banking system.

The Obama administration is counting on public anger over the taxpayer-financed rescues of American International Group Inc., Bear Stearns Cos. and other firms to help it win approval for the changes, which could be the most sweeping since the 1930s. Policy makers want to improve the oversight of the financial system now rather than wait until the crisis is over, administration officials said on condition of anonymity.

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