What is in this article?:
- Jon Corzine, former head of the failed investment firm MF Global, was subpoenaed to appear before the House Agriculture Committee. Having run MF Global when a suspected $1.2 billion worth of customer funds – including accounts of many in the agriculture sector – went missing, Corzine walked into the hearing surely knowing he’d be roughed up.
- Committee members ensured that expectation was realized. But Corzine invited more scorn with weaves and dodges in both his opening statement and answers to questions.
Prior to Corzine’s grilling, the committee heard from several of those tasked with regulating the U.S. financial industries. Many were unhappy with Gary Gensler’s absence and aforementioned “non participation” in the MF Global investigation. While he traveled abroad, Gensler left it to CFTC member Jill Sommers to answer questions.
“I find it very unacceptable that Gensler is not here, that’s he’s recused himself, that he’s gone out of the country at the same time we’re faced with the eighth-largest bankruptcy in the history of the United States on a firm under his oversight, where $1.2 billion of our constituents’ money is missing,” said Georgia Rep. David Scott. Scott then brought up Gensler’s “very close personal relationship with Mr. Corzine, from when they both worked at Goldman Sachs. … It raises a great deal of suspicions.”
Further complicating matters, pointed out Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney, was that Gensler’s decision to recuse himself “was in response to a member of the Senate who demanded he recuse himself because of allegations there was some relationship with MF Global. You can get whiplash around this place sometimes trying to keep up with competing finger-pointing going on.”
Courtney’s admonition was ignored immediately.
Echoing concerns expressed in a Dec. 1 hearing by the Senate Agriculture Committee (see here), Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman laid into Gensler saying “for us to get the facts to everything that has happened here, every player should be willing to step forward and share … what they know and when they knew it. … In this situation, I believe Mr. Gensler should be here, as well. … I believe (Gensler’s international travel) today is no coincidence.”