The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has asked for records on the $3.62 billion of year-end bonuses at Merrill Lynch, to see if the panel was misled about the payments, the Wall Street Journal said.

Representative Edolphus Towns made the request in letters sent Tuesday to Bank of America Corp CEO Kenneth Lewis and Raymond Calamaro, who served as outside counsel for Merrill, the paper said. Bank of America acquired Merrill on January 1.

In a November 24 letter, Calamaro wrote to the committee that incentive compensation decisions for 2008 have not yet been made, and said directors would do so at year-end, the paper said.

But Merrill's compensation committee had approved the 2008 bonuses in a November 11 vote, according to testimony later given to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is conducting his own probe, the paper said.

Merrill could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.

(Reporting by S. John Tilak in Bangalore, editing by Will Waterman)