U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson will be one of the lead interrogators of former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine Thursday when the House Agriculture Committee convenes to investigate the collapse of the brokerage giant.
"Thousands of farmers and ranchers, including many in the 15th District of Illinois, put their faith and their investments in this firm and have been taken to cleaners," Rep. Johnson said. "We not only need answers to how this money was manipulated, we need these individual accounts to be made whole. This goes beyond mismanagement. People's livelihoods have been imperiled by decisions made within this organization."
The House Agriculture Committee voted unanimously last week to subpoena Corzine. Thursday's hearing will be the first public inquiry of Corzine since the firm filed for bankruptcy Oct. 31. As much as $1.2 billion may be missing from customers' futures accounts, accounts that were supposed to be safe and segregated. The firm declared bankruptcy after disclosing its exposure investments in risky European bonds.
The House Agriculture Committee is directly involved because it has oversight authority over the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which regulates commodity trades. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI are also investigating.
Rep. Johnson is the third-ranking member of the Agriculture Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Rural Development.
"I've been contacted directly by farmers and agribusiness leaders in my district who are directly impacted by what has happened," Rep. Johnson said. "Their trust in the promise of segregated funds is the cornerstone to stability in these markets. This collapse is not a distant Wall Street scandal. This hits directly at home here in Central Illinois."
Corzine, a former Democrat Senator and Governor of New Jersey, resigned after MF Global declared bankruptcy and has not made any public statements since.