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