Government officials turned up the heat on Bank of America ( BAC) on Monday, demanding that the firm provide details of big payouts the company and Merrill Lynch executives received before the two companies combined on Jan. 1.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass.) wrote a joint letter to BofA CEO Kenneth Lewis, asking that he provide details of any employee who received more than $1 million in 2008 bonus payments. Cuomo alleges that Merrill executives moved up the date of bonus payouts before the merger to avoid scrutiny, "knowing full well" that the firm would rack up huge losses last year.

BofA was forced to seek additional government funding to close the deal, as Merrill's losses accelerated. All told, Merrill lost $27.61 billion in 2008, a figure that was adjusted upward in its 10-K filing due to flawed accounting. Bank of America has received $45 billion in government loans and $118 billion in guarantees against Merrill's toxic assets to support its acquisition.

Despite those big-ticket losses and government largesse, Merrill paid out $36 billion in bonuses last year, while BofA distributed over $3.3billion.

"Taxpayers who are footing the bill obviously demand accountability and want to know who received these funds and why," Cuomo and Frank wrote in their letter.

Cuomo's office has been requesting information about Merrill's bonuses since October. He has been collaborating with Frank on the investigation at least since February, when he sent the Congressman a letter outlining what he characterized as an underhanded ploy to pay executives without disclosing appropriate information to regulators.

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