Friday, March 23, 2012

Well Connected Corzine

Just a short photo essay on a few of the connections of the incredibly well-connected Jon Corzine. JC was buddies with multiple presidents and first ladies, rode on Air Force One, danced at the white house.

Will Attorney General Holder feel comfortable indicting such a well-connected individual? Certainly not. Will he do it anyway? Perhaps, if you do enough lobbying.

President Obama...

With President Obama on Air Force One...

Arriving For a Party at The White House...

VP Biden...

Hillary Clinton...

President Bill Clinton...

VP Al Gore...

Treasury Secretary John Paulson...

Bobby Kennedy Jr...

Jesse Jackson...

If you find better ones, post a link.

PS: Are you fired up? Want to know who you should call? Read my MF Global Victim Activists Guide

Sunday, March 18, 2012

MF Global - Victim Activists Guide

You're upset about MF Global. You want to take action. Many of us have been forced to become activists by MF Global's botched management, the CFTC's botched regulation, PwC's botched audits, the DOJ's inclination to prosecute no one, etc.

Who ya' gonna' call?

This article provides a long list of folks you can call, or fax, or tweet, who may be able to influence future events.

Your first thought might be to call the regulators, the government agencies who are responsible for protecting customers of financial institutions, namely the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Although these guys have the responsibility, they have been asleep at the wheel during the entire MF Global affair.

The CFTC has been particularly useless. They've routinely hidden the information you need. They've issued essentially bogus press releases. They are right now, as we speak, routinely violating the Freedom Of Information Act. They've refused to issue a determination on my MF Global FOIA request, even tho the law requires them to do so, and I've been in contact with other people in the same situation. As long as this agency obfuscates, misleads, and blatantly violates the law, giving them a phone call ain't gonna help.

The regulators are useless, so who ya' gonna' call?

Here's a big list. Just pick some people and call!

1.) The Department of Justice official responsible for prosecuting the perpetrators of this fiasco is the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. I've created an entire contact Preet Bharara page. It includes links to the many Time magazine articles about Preet.

Give him a call, or a fax, or whatever. Ask him to do his job. Ask him to indict some folks!

If you don't know what to say to Preet, perhaps you could just print out a copy of this NY Times article: Is MF Global Getting A Free Pass? and fax it to Preet.

You could print a copy of the infamous MF Global "We Have Convictions" advertisement and fax it. We don't have convictions. That's the problem we want Preet to solve!

Some believe that other US Attorneys may be able to act. I'm not so sure about that, but if you're interested, here's contact information for all US Attorneys.

2.) Know that the DOJ is very political. The DOJ acts when there is political pressure to do so. Regulators react when there is political pressure. To apply political pressure, you're going to need to stoke congress.

2a.) A good first stop would be your own senators and representative. Look up their contact info here: House Senate. Send an email via their web site, or a call or fax or tweet.

2b.) The house is divided into a large number of committees and subcommittees that tackle specific areas. There are two subcommittees who seem to be driving the MF Global affair. We need as many people as possible to contact members of these committees, to keep these reps fired up. The name of each member below is a link to the member's official web page. The twitter address is also a link. Just click and tweet! Be polite and sincere. Tell them what you think. The phone and fax numbers shown are for the rep's Washington office. Most reps have additional offices in state, which you can find on their official web page.

If you have time, call fax or tweet them all. If you are short on time, just pick a few. Come back in a few days and do it again.

House Finance CommitteeThis is a big committee. The MF Global action is mostly in the O&I subcommittee. If you want to do more, of course you can contact all the finance committee members, but for most effect, I suggest the members below. (By the way, your own politics don't matter. We hope to influence all of these people, regardless of their party affiliation.)

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Randy Neugebauer, TX, Chairman

Phone: (202) 225-4005 Fax: (202) 225-9615 Twitter: @RandyNeugebauer

Michael G. Fitzpatrick, PA, Vice Chairman

Phone: (202) 225-4276 Fax: (202) 225-9511 Twitter: @RepFitzpatrick

Peter T. King, NY
Phone: 202-225-7896 Fax: 202-226-2279 Twitter: @RepPeteKing

Michele Bachmann, MN
Phone: (202) 225-2331 Fax: (202) 225-6475 Twitter: @MicheleBachmann

Stevan Pearce, NM
Phone: (202) 225-2365 Fax: not published Twitter: @repstevepearce

Bill Posey, FL
Phone: (202) 225-3671 Fax: (202) 225-3516 Twitter: @congbillposey

Nan A. S. Hayworth, NY

Phone: (202) 225-5441 Fax: (202) 225-3289 Twitter: @RepNanHayworth

James B. Renacci, OH
Phone: (202) 225-3876 Fax: (202) 225-3059 Twitter: @repjimrenacci

Francisco "Quico" Canseco, TX
Phone: 202-225-4511 Fax: not published Twitter:@RepCanseco

Stephen Lee Fincher, TN
Phone: (202) 225-4714 Fax: (202) 225-1765 Twitter: @RepFincherTN08

Michael E. Capuano, MA, Ranking Member
Phone: (202) 225-5111 Fax: (202) 225-9322 Twitter: none

Stephen F. Lynch, MA
Phone: (202) 225-8273 Fax: (202) 225-3984 Twitter: @RepStephenLynch

Maxine Waters, CA
Phone: (323) 757-8900 Fax: (323) 757-9506 Twitter: @MaxineWaters

Joe Baca, CA
Phone: (202)225-6161 Fax: (202)225-8671 Twitter: @RepJoeBaca
Brad Miller, NC
Phone: (202) 225-3032 Fax: (202)225-0181 Twitter: @RepBradMiller

Keith Ellison, MN
Washington, D.C. 20515 Phone: (202) 225-4755 Twitter: @keithellison

James A. Himes, CT
Phone: (202) 225-5541 Fax: (202) 225-9629 Twitter: @jahimes

John C. Carney, Jr., DE
Phone: (202) 225-4165 Fax: (202) 225-2291 Twitter: @JohnCarneyDE

House Agriculture Committee
Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management

Rep. K. Michael Conaway, TX Chairman
phone: (202) 225-3605 fax: (202) 225-1783 Twitter: @ConawayTX11

Rep. Steve King, IA
Phone: 202.225.4426 Fax: 202.225.3193 Twitter: @SteveKingIA

Rep. Randy Neugebauer, TX
Phone: (202) 225-4005 Fax: (202) 225-961 Twitter: @RandyNeugebauer

Rep. Jean Schmidt, OH
Phone: (202) 225-3164 Fax: (202) 225-1992 Twitter: none

Rep. Bob Gibbs, OH
Phone: (202) 225-6265 Fax: (202) 225-3394 Twitter: @RepBobGibbs

Rep. Austin Scott, GA
Phone: (202) 225-6531 Fax: (202) 225-3013 Twitter: @AustinScottGA08

Rep. Rick Crawford, AR
Phone: (202) 225-4076 Fax: (202) 225-5602 Twitter: @RepRickCrawford

Rep. Martha Roby, AL
Phone: (202) 225-2901 Fax: (202) 225-8913 Twitter: @RepMarthaRoby

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, KS
Phone: (202) 225-2715 Fax: (202) 225-5124 Twitter: @CongHuelskamp

Rep. Renee L. Ellmers, NC
Phone: (202) 225-4531 Fax: (202) 225-5662 Twitter: @RepReneeEllmers

Rep. Christopher P. Gibson, NY

Phone: (202) 225-5614 Fax: (202) 225-1168 Twitter: @RepChrisGibson

Rep. Randy Hultgren, IL
Phone: (202) 225-2976 Fax: (202) 225-0697 Twitter: @RepHultgren

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, MO
Phone: (202) 225-2876 Fax: (202) 225-0148 Twitter: @RepHartzler

Rep. Robert T. Schilling, IL
Phone: (202) 225-5905 Fax: (202) 225-5396 Twitter: @RepSchilling

Rep. Leonard Boswell, IA Ranking Member
Phone: (202) 225-3806 Fax: (202) 225-5608 Twitter: @LeonardBoswell

Rep. Mike McIntyre, NC
Phone: (202) 225-2731 Fax: (202) 225-5773 Twitter: @RepMikeMcIntyre

Rep. Timothy J. Walz, MN
Phone: 202-225-2472 Fax: none Twitter: none

Rep. Larry Kissell, NC
Phone: (202) 225-3715 Fax: (202) 225-4036 Twitter: @RepLarryKissell

Rep. James P. McGovern, MA
Phone: (202) 225-6101 Fax: (202) 225-5759 Twitter: @RepMcGovern

Rep. Dennis A. Cardoza, CA
Phone: (202) 225-6131 Fax: not published Twitter: @RepCardoza

Rep. David Scott, GA
Phone: (202) 225-2939 Fax: (202) 225-4628 Twitter: @repdavidscott

Rep. Joe Courtney, CT
Phone: (202) 225-2076 Fax: (202) 225-4977 Twitter: @RepJoeCourtney

Rep. Peter Welch, VT
Phone: (202) 225-4115 Fax: not published Twitter: none

Rep. Terri A. Sewell, AL

Phone: (202) 225-2665 Fax: (202) 226-9567 Twitter: @RepTerriSewell

Television financial journalists
These folks can keep the MF Global story alive. Send them a thank you tweet when they include a good MF Global story on air. When they don't ... tell them MF Global is important, or suggest stories. Rick Santelli has done quite a few MF Global stories.



Good luck!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

MF Global - CFTC Disrespects My FOIA

On January 23, 2012, I sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the CFTC. I told them I wanted to know how the CFTC made the decision to liquidate MF Global Inc as a "SIPA liquidation".

This decision was made by the CFTC in a very short time, after MF Global informed regulators of missing money. CFTC considered the alternatives for less than 1 day. The decision set into motion a chain of events which may have profound implications for MF Global customers.

The process is pretty simple.

Following the FOIA rules, I faxed my FOIA request on the evening of Jan 23.

The FOIA law 5USC§552(a)(6)(A)(i) says that the CFTC has 20 work days to respond with a determination, telling me what information is available, whether they can deliver it, and what it will cost me. I expected that they would make some excuse, responding perhaps that there was no written record of any meetings, memos, etc on the subject.

What actually happened next was much more interesting: Silence.

The 20 day statutory limit expired on February 21, 2012, and the CFTC didn't respond at all!

The CFTC has an official email address and phone number to get status of FOIA requests. I tried sending email. No response. Tried again a few days later. No response. I tried calling. Got voicemail every time. Left 4 messages asking for status of my FOIA request over several days. No response. Nothing.

They don't answer email. They don't answer the phone. They don't respond to voicemail.

It was as if the CFTC's FOIA office doesn't really want to give anyone the status of anything.

Next I called a CFTC lawyer assigned to the FOIA office. Calling his number got me to voicemail again, but he was nice enough to call me back the next morning and leave me a voicemail message.

His message asked me to "be patient" and explained that these matters were "very complex".

That's an interesting response, but it doesn't come close to being compliant with the law. It doesn't tell me when the CFTC might comply with the law. Doesn't really tell me anything.

Rather than saying "no", the CFTC decided not to answer at all. A brilliant bureaucratic strategy! Do nothing. Hide.

You'd think that in a high profile case, like the MF Global affair, the CFTC would take great care to be compliant with the law. You would be wrong. I'm sure they employ people whose only job is to monitor their compliance and keep them on track. We pay these folks' salary.

I don't buy the complexity argument. My request was straightforward. Even if the CFTC were delayed for a legitimate reason, the statute requires a written response within a precisely defined time, and they haven't responded at all. Just non-compliant.

The statute does allow the time limit to be extended, but that is allowed only in certain specific situations, and would require written notice, which the CFTC has not bothered to give. Just plain ol' non-compliance.


Just to be formal, I've sent them a letter documenting their noncompliance, which I've copied below.

When they finally do say something, I'll share that with you too.

FOIA Compliance Office
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Three Lafayette Centre
1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581

March 8, 2012

FOIA Compliance Officer:

On January 23, 2012, I faxed a FOIA request to the CFTC, which you subsequently identified as 12-00055-FOIA.

Because you have not notified me of a determination, you have been in violation of 5USC§552(a)(6)(A)(i) continuously since February 21, 2012.

The statute requires the CFTC to reach a determination within 20 work days after receipt of a FOIA request, and to then notify me “immediately”. It appears that you have done neither.

I expect that you will correct this noncompliance promptly.

Thank you,

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
xxxx Xxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxx, XX xxxxx

Cc: Edwin J. Yoshimura, CFTC FOIA counsel, CFTC Chicago

Saturday, February 25, 2012

MF Global Victims - Give Preet Bharara a Call

If a parking lot thru sloppy accounting accidentally thought 38,000 cars were theirs and sold em, the DA would file charges. I guarantee it. There'd be prompt action. The DA would act because he would fear the public reaction he'd get if he didn't act.

After the MF Global debacle, with 38,000 victims, and $1.2B missing, no one has filed any criminal charges. No one has been locked up. No one has been indicted.

This seems wrong, doesn't it?

If, like me, you think some law man needs to get off his duff and take some action, here are some things you can do.

The law man who should be indicting some MF Global folks is the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. This man must have a great public relations firm. Time magazine ran very positive articles on Bharara on 2/1/2012, 2/6/2012, 2/13/2012, and 3/10/2012. Egad! Time even put him on the cover of the 2/13/2012 issue.

I'm waitin' for Time to run an article about how he hasn't indicted anyone in the MF Global debacle. In the meantime...

Here's what you can do: Give his office a call right now. His official phone number is
You don't need any special skills. Just be polite and sincere. Here are some things you can say:
"I'm a victim of MF Global."
"I think there need to be some indictments."
"38,000 customers are victims."
"Who will you hold accountable?"
"Please help us."

If you're embarrassed to call, you can fax. His official fax number is

You could fax him a nice letter, explaining why he should act. Handwritten or typed. Short or long. Doesn't matter. You could include a copy of your last MF Global statement, so he can see your dollars and cents are real.

If you don't want to fax, you can send him a letter the old fashioned way. Here's his official address
Preet Bharara, US Attorney
One St. Andrews Plaza
New York, NY 10007

You might think that it is undignified to apply pressure to law enforcement folks, especially someone at such a high level in the administration. The sad truth is that the DOJ (of which Bharara is a part) is very political. Political issues determine which cases have priority. There is nothing more important to politicians than the will of the people. It helps when you make them know that people are interested in a case.

Because of the political nature of the DOJ, it is also valuable to recruit members of congress, especially democratic members, to apply pressure on your behalf, so call and write these guys too. If you don't have time to write a lot of letters, just fax your congressman a copy of the letter you send to Bharara. Just mark it "FYI". You could also send a copy of the same letter to the NY Times.

Pick up the phone now and dial.

PS: If you'd like to contact congress, you can find contact info for the important committee members in my MF Global Victim Activists Guide.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Who Killed MF Global?

The great Bob Dylan song Who Killed Davey Moore, tells the story of all the folks who contributed to a boxer's death. (I prefer the emotional Pete Seeger rendition.)

Each person, in his own words, denies responsibility: the referee, the crowd, the manager, the gambler, the boxing writer, and the opponent. After each denial, the chorus wails,
Who killed Davey Moore?
How come he died, and what's the reason for?
This repeated question, of course, has no answer. It hangs, unresolved.

Its about collective responsibility and denial.

So what does this have to do with MF Global?

Something around $1 Billion of customers' money is "missing". This point is sorta personal to me, because some of that is my money.

Every person you can find denies responsibility. And yet ... clearly someone is responsible. My money didn't "vaporize" in some mysterious act of god.

Why don't I have my money?

Sharing responsibility are various regulators (SEC, Fed, CFTC, CME, accounting standards boards, ...), various executives (CEO, CFO, CROs, ...), the board of directors, various banks (JP Morgan mostly), various liquidation trustees (Giddens, Freeh), congress, journalists.

Every one of these folk has a denial story.

You've heard the congressional hearings. I don't think they brought any sunshine to the situation at all. Congress folk get some guy in the headlights, and yell at him to create good TV for themselves.

The finance committee pummeled the two MF Global Chief Risk Officers, for example, even tho we all know that these guys didn't have the final decision authority on the taking of risks. Their job was to organize the assessment of investment risks, and make sure the board understood same at all times. Really not much to see here.

The risky investments caused people to lose faith in the company, but didn't cause customers to lose money.

As the public lost faith in MF Global, they were in the process of being bought by Interactive Brokers. If it were not for a little accounting problem, the sale would have succeeded, and no customers would have lost any money. This is a clue that it is the accounting problem, and not the so-called "risky" investments that is at the heart of the customers loss.

The Ag committee pummeled Jon Corzine mercilessly. Over and over they asked "Mr Corzine, where is the money?" Each time he said he did not know. And you know what? I believe him.

What did the congress folk think? Did they think Corzine moved the money to a secret Swiss bank account? I don't think that.

Trustee Giddens issued a report recently that is more aligned with my thinking.

Commodity brokers (FCMs) are supposed to keep customers' money "segregated", but what does that actually mean? The answer is surprising. It is based on accounting ideas from a past century. The FCM keeps an account in which he is simply required to keep an amount of money that is greater than the amount in all customer accounts. Because many (perhaps thousands) of customer transactions are in flight at any instant, it is assumed that the FCM cannot know the exact amount he is required to keep segregated at any time. What FCMs do to solve this problem is to put some of their own money in the "segregated" account, to ensure that in spite of their inability to know exactly where they should be at any instant, the account balance will still be larger than required by law.

At MF Global, the excess was routinely on the order of $500 Million. Amazing amount of slop, isn't it?

There's a moral hazard here. What's worse, there's no reason for it. It is an anachronism.

The moral hazard: If you know that you routinely keep $500 Million extra in the seg funds account, then you know that there's some money in there you can "borrow" when you need it elsewhere.

In fact, that's what MF Global routinely did. Giddens' report tells us that MF Global routinely borrowed up to $50 Million from the seg funds account. Some writers have called this evidence of fraud, but I think it is not. If you are borrowing from the excess money in the seg funds account, that isn't customers' money. That's ok. The law doesn't require you to have excess funds in the seg funds account.

The problem came about in the final hectic days, when the accounting systems couldn't keep up. Giddens doesn't tell us how high the transaction volumes were, but we can safely guess they were 5X to 10X normal. He does tell us that the failed transaction count was 5X normal. When the accounting systems can't keep up with transactions, then MF Global employees have no way of knowing how much money is supposed to be in the seg funds account at any time.

You can imagine then, some of that routine "borrowing" getting out of hand. Once the music stopped, and somebody (a guy who wanted to buy the company) forced them to figure out how much money was really supposed to be in there, well shucks.

It isn't necessary for there to have been an intent to steal. The money could be misused without criminal intent, given sloppy enough accounting systems and procedures.

I'm not saying there's no criminality. There is criminal negligence.

Clearly a fundamental evil here is the accounting system. It wasn't up to the job. It is really important that transaction handling systems must be able to handle several times more volume than occurs under ordinary circumstances.

Now, lets set the blame.

Company management (board, CEO, CFO, and various accounting folks, IT folks) had a responsibility to ensure that the accounting system was adequate. This is a grave and fundamental responsibility in a company whose primary business is handling other people's money! Is there criminal liability for negligent accounting? Surely there must be. At some size this must become a criminal issue.

The auditor, PwC, had a responsibility to ensure that the accounting system was adequate. We never heard a peep out of them on this issue. What is their liability?

The regulators (CME, CFTC, SEC) had a responsibility to ensure that the accounting system was adequate. Do these guys even have any procedures in place that put requirements on accounting systems, or apply tests, or audits to same? I'll bet that they do not.

Anecdote: The CFTC, after MF Global's demise, reported that it was going to check seg funds at all the other FCMs. Customers envisioned an emergency audit of all FCMs that would check to see if appropriate seg funds were really present. What the CFTC actually did was so much less that it was just hilarious and hopelessly stupid. They only looked at 12% of the FCMs, and of those guys they just requested two pieces of paper, one saying how much seg funds should be present, and one saying how much seg funds were present. If the first number was smaller than the second number, CFTC assumes they're good. This is not an audit. It is a joke. Gosh guys, if you're only going to ask for two pieces of paper, surely you can ask all the FCMs instead of just a few of them. Are you short of the postage for the letters to make the requests?

The CFTC has primary regulatory authority here, and the CFTC was completely asleep at the switch. I've previously called for the resignation of all CFTC commissioners.

With today's technology, one should not base system assumptions on the idea that it is good enough to just put some slop in the account, on the assumption that it would be too difficult to know how much money should actually be there at any time.

Modern computers can do all this in real time. Accounting standard should demand real time accounting. If you know how much money should be in an account, there is no need to keep extra money in there, and there is no opportunity to "borrow" the excess.

The regulators must be set up to audit these funds. Clearly CFTC is not set up to do this. The hilarious recent events demonstrate that well. How many investors understood that the CFTC didn't have the ability to do serious audits? Golly.

Question: Who killed MF GLobal?
Answer: The Accountants.

I call for criminal indictments for incompetent accounting.

Other brokers probably have more competent accountants. Maybe. Don't know for sure. No way to tell. God knows the CFTC, CME, SEC, PwC won't tell us.

We should thank Interactive Brokers for bringing the problem to light. They should get a medal.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

MF Global - CFTC Fake Non-Audit Audits

The CFTC is hopelessly incompetent.

On November 10, 2011, the CFTC issued an announcement that it was going to look at segregated funds at all commodity brokers (FCMs). It was widely reported that the CFTC was going to "audit" segregated funds, which sounds great, but that isn't exactly what the CFTC said.

Here's what they did say:
“Segregation of customer funds is at the core of customer protection in the commodity futures and options markets and must be maintained at all times,” said Commissioner Sommers. ... “we will do everything in our power to ensure public confidence in the markets by directing a review of clearing futures commission merchants (FCMs) to determine that segregated funds are being properly maintained in accordance with the CEA and Commission regulations.”

At first those sound like good words. "Everything in our power". Great. Unfortunately, they didn't do anything close to "everything in their power".

Most importantly, they did not do an audit. They did what they have already been doing. They did exactly what did not find the problems at MF Global.

They did not look at the actual accounts to see if the money is really there. They looked only at papers provided by the FCMs, and then concluded that numbers om the papers provided by the FCMs matched other numbers on the same papers. This will catch no one.

On January 25th, 2011, newspaper articles appeared with the conclusion. The CFTC reported that there were "no material breaches" at FCMs. This was reported widely, for example in the Wall Street Journal. Looking into the details, things are not what they seem.

The CFTC's press release of January 25th provides the details, and they are really scary stupid.

There are 120 FCMs registered with the CFTC.

First off, the CFTC did not review seg funds at all 120 of these guys. They only reviewed 14 of them. (ie less than 12% of the FCMs.) CFTC asked NFA and CME to review the other 106 FCMs.


Next, the review was not an audit. Says so right there in their press release:
" staff of the CFTC’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO), Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and National Futures Association (NFA) did not conduct an audit.."

Well if none of these people conducted any audits of anything, what the heck did they do?

We don't know exactly what NFA and CME did, but CFTC DSIO tells us what they did: " DSIO staff obtained from each FCM a detailed listing of assets held in segregated and Part 30 secured accounts as reflected in the firm’s books and records. The listing of assets was compared to independent third-party source documents and reconciliations maintained at the FCM’s offices supporting the asset balances"

In other words, the FCM provided two pieces of paper, and the CFTC looked to see that the total at the bottom of one piece of paper matched the total at the bottom of the other piece of paper.

There are a couple of problems with this approach.

First, no criminal will ever fail such a review unless he is really stupid. The criminal will always provide two pieces of paper where the totals match. Madoff, for example, got this right every time, for more than 20 years.

Did any of these people read Markopolos' book? He explains this in great detail.

The folks at the CFTC didn't read Markopolos' book after the Madoff fiasco, and they didn't audit the FCMs seg funds after the MF Global fiasco! The CFTC is useless.

Second, FCMs are already required to provide daily totals of customer accounts and seg funds, so the great CFTC review actually just required the FCMs to provide a slightly larger piece of paper, with some numbers that total to the numbers the FCMs were already providing. The CFTC then looked at those totals, as they have been doing all along, and saw that they matched, as they have all along, just as they always matched at MF Global.

That's right, the CFTC did essentially nothing, and issued a press release about it. The press release says everything is fine.

I am reminded of the Jedi mind trick from Star Wars: "These are not the droids you're looking for. You can go about your business. Move along."

This insults our intelligence. How can we tolerate this?

The segregated funds at every FCM must be audited. The CFTC commissioners obviously don't see it that way. They think they can do business as usual, doing nothing, and play Jedi mind tricks on us, and keep their jobs.

I call for the resignation, in disgrace, of all present CFTC commissioners.

The Oversight and Investigations subcommittee of the Financial Services Committee of the House of Representatives is holding a hearing on Feb 2, 2012 titled “The Collapse of MF Global: Part 2”

The O&I subcommittee are the folks in congress who are supposed to oversee investigations such as the phoney baloney I've described above. Please contact these members of congress, and let them know you don't approve of what the CFTC is doing. Ask them to raise these issues with the CFTC commissioners at the upcoming hearing.

Please tell these members of congress that they should ask for the resignation in disgrace of all present CFTC commissioners.

Members of the O&I subcommittee...
Randy Neugebauer, TX, Chairman
Michael G. Fitzpatrick, PA, Vice Chairman
Peter T. King, NY
Michele Bachmann, MN
Stevan Pearce, NM
Bill Posey, FL
Nan A. S. Hayworth, NY
James B. Renacci, OH
Francisco "Quico" Canseco, TX
Stephen Lee Fincher, TN
Michael E. Capuano, MA, Ranking Member
Stephen F. Lynch, MA
Maxine Waters, CA
Joe Baca, CA
Brad Miller, NC
Keith Ellison, MN
James A. Himes, CT
John C. Carney, Jr., DE

Monday, January 23, 2012

MF Global - I've FOIA'd the CFTC

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies to divulge internal documents under a wide range of circumstances. It is a great law.

Many of us MF Global customers have been wondering about the strange decision made by the CFTC and SEC in the early morning hours of Oct 31, 2011 to liquidate MF Global Inc under the SIPA law, rather than the ordinary bankruptcy code. (CFTC calls it "SIPC-led", but this means in accordance with the SIPA law.) Many MF Global customers believe this was the moment we were "thrown under the bus".

There's been a lot of speculation. Recently several blogs have claimed that there were secret meetings, and undue influence from a certain large bank. Could be. I dunno.

I decided to simply ask the CFTC how this decision was made. In this case "ask" means to invoke FOIA. Lets see if this works.

If any of you would like to do something similar, feel free to copy & paste!


FOIA Compliance Office
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Three Lafayette Centre
1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581

January 23, 2012

FOIA Compliance Officer:

Under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC Section 552, I am requesting information or records regarding the CFTC’s choice of a SIPC-led liquidation as the appropriate mechanism to liquidate MF Global.

Background: On October 31, 2011, CFTC issued a statement regarding MF Global (attached) which says:

“The SEC and CFTC have determined that a SIPC-led bankruptcy proceeding would be the safest and most prudent course of action to protect customer accounts and assets.”

The issue is quite simply: How was that determination made?

I request all correspondence, email, written memos, meeting minutes, conference call notes, conference call recordings, conference call transcripts, powerpoint, or other documents which influenced the determination quoted above, or document the process. The timeframe searched should be October 30 thru October 31, 2011. This search should include discussion of pros or cons of any liquidation approach, risks, staff recommendations, legal requirements, etc. SIPC (SIPA) vs 11 USC chapter 7, etc. The search should include contacts with the White House, SEC, and agents of MF Global or JP Morgan or any other entities.

I agree to pay any search, review, or copying fees that may be incurred in processing this request up to $350. I believe I am most likely in the “other requester” category.

If you have any questions, please email me at .


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