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Lawmakers take aim at CEO compensation

High-profile former Wall Street CEOs and the head of the nation's largest home lender will testify before a Congressional committee examining the link between executive pay and the mortgage crisis.

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Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
Why were executives at the helm of some of the world's largest banks compensated so richly even as their industry was being pummeled by the mortgage meltdown?

Lawmakers will pursue this question Friday when the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hears testimony from two former Wall Street CEOs, Charles Prince and Stanley O'Neal, and the chief of the nation's largest mortgage lender, Angelo Mozilo.

At issue are the salaries, bonuses, perks and stock awards that the executives received as the companies under their leadership took enormous losses on bad bets related to mortgage backed securities. Calls for accountability have become increasingly louder as the housing market continues to deteriorate and homeowners across the country face foreclosure.

Henry Waxman, the Democratic congressman who chairs the Committee, has developed a reputation as an aggressive reformer during his thirty years representing the Los Angeles area on Capitol Hill.

As a ranking member on the Committee, Waxman has tackled issues ranging from the high cost of prescription drugs to waste, fraud, and abuse in government contracting. Most recently, Waxman's committee made headlines when it held a series of high-profile hearings on the illegal use of steroids in major league baseball.

NEXT: Stanley O'Neal, Merrill Lynch & Co.
Last updated March 05 2008: 7:21 PM ET