Rotten to the Corzine

Don’t you hate that Bernie Madoff is bundling contributions for Mitt Romney? What? He’s not?

Oh, my bad:

Barack Obama’s reelection campaign has released the most recent list of names of fundraising bundlers. On that list is Jon Corzine, the former governor of New Jersey and embattled money man, the former head of MF Global.

Corzine, according to the Obama campaign, has once again helped raise more than $500,000.

As ABC reported, “President Obama once hailed [Corzine] as an ‘honorable man’ and one of his ‘best partners’ in the White House.” Since that time, Obama has tried to distance himself from Corzine, who at one point was considered for the treasury secretary slot.

But apparently Obama is still willing to use campaign funds from the embattled Corzine.

I would say that Corzine should save up for a legal defense fund, but he may be banking on a pardon. As we learn only today:

Investigators probing the collapse of bankrupt brokerage MF Global said Tuesday that they have located the $1.6 billion in customer money that had gone missing from the firm.

But just how much of those funds can be returned to the firm’s clients, and who will be held responsible for their misappropriation, remains to be seen.

James Giddens, the trustee overseeing the liquidation of MF Global Inc, told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that his team’s analysis of how the money went missing “is substantially concluded.”

“We can trace where the cash and securities in the firm went, and that we’ve done,” Giddens said.

MF Global failed last year after its disclosure of billions of dollars worth of bets on risky European debt sparked a panic among investors. About $105 billion in cash left the firm in its last week, Giddens said, as clients withdrew their funds and trading partners called for increased margin payments, leaving the firm scrambling to make good on its obligations.

It has since emerged that MF Global tapped customer funds for its own use during this crisis and failed to replace them, in violation of industry rules.

Jill Sommers, a commissioner with the CFTC, told the hearing Tuesday that she could not disclose details of the commission’s investigation, but said the case could lead to enforcement actions against the company or the individuals involved.

The SEC and CFTC can only seek civil penalties and restitution for customers, but their findings could help form the basis of a criminal case brought by the Justice Department.

Giddens, for his part, has said he may file civil claims against MF Global executives alleging breach of fiduciary duties and violations of federal law governing commodities trading. A person familiar with the trustee’s probe said Jon Corzine, a former U.S. senator and Democratic governor from New Jersey who was CEO of MF Global when it collapsed, is among those against whom Giddens is considering action.

Hey, if Marc Rich can get a pardon, why can’t Jon Corzine? He’s certainly earned one.

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