NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

is pretty much

surrounded by an ad hoc posse

of sheriffs from just about every corner of government.

It's like a battle of bounty hunters as each group tries to be the one that gets the bandit.

Will it be federal judge Jed Rakoff or New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo or U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D., N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Will it be the

U.S. Department of Justice or the Federal Bureau of Investigations?

Trouble is, no one knows who the bandit is just yet. But with all this heat, it seems inevitable that someone will eventually squeal. And then what?

I guess we'll finally know with absolute certainty that extreme measures were taken in the early stages of the financial crisis and the emergency measures taken by both government officials and banking executives were hurried, harried and hushed.

Oh wait, we already know that.

So why are we spending so much time and taxpayer money to chase down the details of the

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

takeover and the big bonuses and bigger losses that followed?

Because once a manhunt begins, it only ends one way. These sheriffs want someone to pay. They are vying for the honor and privilege (and publicity) that goes with catching the bad guy. They are not backing down until they've got someone locked up in the hoosegow at the very least.

I'm not sure any of this has much to do with justice or law enforcement any more.

This posse is starting to look like a lynch mob to me.

--Written by Glenn Hall in New York.

Glenn Hall is the New York-based Editor in Chief of

TheStreet.com

. Previously, he served as deputy editor and chief innovation officer at

The Orange County Register

and as a news manager at

Bloomberg News

in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. As a reporter, he covered business and financial markets, worked in both print and television in the U.S. and Europe, and conducted in-depth investigative coverage at

The Journal-Gazette

in Fort Wayne, Ind. His work also has been published in a variety of newspapers including

The Wall Street Journal

,

The New York Times

and

International Herald Tribune

. Hall received a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from The Ohio State University and a certificate in project and program management from Boston University.