U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson along with 26 House colleagues appealed to Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Jon Corzine's role in the collapse of MF Global Holdings Ltd.
"This situation is precisely why the provisions for the appointment of independent counsel exist," Rep. Johnson said. "The conflicts of interest are staring us in the face. This firm lost $1.6 billion in investments that belonged to farmers and ranchers across the country, including many in my district. How does that happen without someone being held responsible?"
Rep. Johnson's letter cites preferential treatment of former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine by federal regulators with whom Corzine had professional relationships with in the past. Before MF Global's collapse, executives including Corzine successfully lobbied for delays in the imposition of certain regulatory reforms that would have enhanced customer protections.
Four congressional committees have held hearings on the bankruptcy. Rep. Johnson was one of the lead interrogators of Corzine and expressed his deep suspicion surrounding the "Goldman Sachs fraternity" when Corzine appeared before the House Agriculture Committee last December. The Agriculture Committee is involved because it has oversight authority over the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which regulates commodity trades, and is chaired by Gary Gensler, a former colleague of Corzine's at Goldman Sachs. Gensler recused himself from the investigation.
The ongoing probe took another twist last month when it was revealed that Corzine was listed as a "first-quarter volunteer fundraiser" by President Obama's campaign, having raised over $500,000 for the President's reelection.
" the Independent Counsel Provisions in the U.S. Code provide for the Attorney General to appoint an Independent Counsel in cases where "an investigation or prosecution of a person by the Department of Justice may result in a personal, financial or political conflict of interest,'" the letter states.
Rep. Johnson continued, "Mr. Corzine's situation shows what is wrong with Washington. With enough money and friends in the right places, people in the position of power can trample on the little guy with impunity. I will not stand for that."