Corzine grilling is political fodder in fight over financial regulations
The Hill reports:
Jon Corzine’s recent run of appearances before a handful of congressional panels has allowed Republicans to give Democrats a taste of their own medicine.
Where in recent years Democrats have used the financial crisis and the bank bailouts to push for strong financial regulation, Republicans are using Corzine’s testimony of his time as the head of financial firm MF Global to criticize financial regulations they say don’t work and legislation that they want to repeal, like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Dodd-Frank reforms.
Over the last several days, members of both parties have grilled Corzine over what happened in the final days of his firm, including what happened to $1.2 billion in customer funds that disappeared.
“I don’t think that a man with such an illustrious resume is in a position to claim ignorance,” Grimm said.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), who chaired Thursday’s hearing on MF Global by a House Financial Services subcommittee, shared that frustration.
“It doesn’t appear from his recollection that he knew much about what was going on. I think most of us find this pretty hard to believe.”
Congressional Republicans have been quick to downplay any partisan motivation to the grillings, despite the fact that Corzine was once thought to be one of the most powerful Democrats in the country, serving as a top bundler for the Obama administration following stints as a senator and governor representing New Jersey.
And Democrats have shown little interest in protecting one of their own, as members on both sides have expressed outrage and frustration at Corzine and other MF Global executives for their roles in the collapse.
“This is not a Republican versus Democrat [issue],” said Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R-Texas). “The story of MF Global has nothing to do with partisanship.”
Still, Republican campaign organizations are eager to make hay out of Corzine’s fall from grace. A day after his Thursday hearing, the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out a fundraising email highlighting a report that Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) had repeatedly asked for Corzine to donate to her reelection campaign. The committee has also called on Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee that also demanded Corzine testify, to return $4,000 she received in campaign donations from Corzine and his family.
While GOP lawmakers say their motivation for pressing Corzine on MF Global has nothing to do with politics, his high-profile status isn’t unwelcome, given the attention it brings to their arguments.
“It certainly doesn’t hurt the investigation,” Grimm said.
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