With Congress releasing the next $350 billion of funding for the Troubled Asset Relief Program at the request the Bush administration and the incoming Obama administration, bond insurers Ambac Financial Group Inc. and MBIA Inc. are hoping their efforts to get a piece of the pie pay off.

Working with regulators and lobbyists, Ambac has asked the government for a $1.5 billion capital injection through preferred equity that it would use to recapitalize muni-only insurer Everspan Financial Guaranty Corp. - the old Connie Lee Insurance Co. But given the difficulties the companies have had, critics - including the insurers' healthier competitor, Assured Guaranty Corp. - say equity injections would be inappropriate.

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