If Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner abused his former position with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to encourage the American International Group (AIG) to conceal essential information regarding inappropriate activities from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Geithner should not merely be removed from his Cabinet position. He should be prosecuted.

There are serious suggestions that Geithner may have urged AIG officials to hide controversial and perhaps illegitimate payments that were made using taxpayer dollars. As Congressman Darrell Issa, R-California, says “Inadvertent reporting errors are one thing. Directing a bailed-out company to withhold crucial information from a government agency in order to keep the American public in the dark is another.”

There is mounting evidence that Geithner engaged in precisely the sort of behavior he is supposed to be regulating – and preventing.If he has engaged in it, then the treasury secretary is entirely without credibility.

Issa says, “Secretary Timothy Geithner needs to start giving some answers.”

That’s right. And it should not just be Republicans who are asking the questions. Wise Democrats, including Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio and Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, have been in the forefront of demanding full accountability from Geithner.

Their message must become the message of party’s congressional caucuses.

The White House, which put the wrong man in the wrong job at the wrong time, may try to defend Geithner. Congressional Democrats should not.

If the Treasury Secretary cannot answer the questions that have now been raised in an entirely satisfactory manner, Geithner should be removed from his position. Then, if the wrongdoing merits, he should be prosecuted.