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December 12, 2011

CORZINE A TERRIBLE POLITICAL LEADER, BUT NOT A CRIMINAL


Former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine unfairly being accused of criminal coduct. (UPI/Robert Sciarrino)

By MARIO CASH

   In almost every area, I think former New Jersey governor and U.S. senator Jon Corzine's political positions are wrong, even atrocious in some instances. As an elected official, he was a free-spending mess, often allocating funds to some of the worst programs and initiatives the state and country has ever seen. His thoughts about what is right and wrong with regard to social issues puts him in the same league of immorality as Nancy Pelosi, Jim McGreevy and Barack Obama. But none of this makes him a criminal. And nothing that is being addressed in the current media and political witch hunt does either.

   On November 3, Corzine resigned from his position as CEO from MF Global, a commodities brokerage firm. The company has been unable to account for over one billion dollars in losses of clients’ money, and filed for bankruptcy at the end of October. However, a brokerage firm losing client investment dollars rarely equates to criminal activity. In the majority of matters it doesn’t even amount to civil liability. Even more so, the CEO of the company rarely is actively involved in the daily activities of how customers’ money is handled. Those who assert otherwise are either unknowledgeable in brokerage firm dealings or are purposely telling falsehoods. In other words, unless law enforcement authorities are withholding information from the public pursuant to an ongoing investigation, there isn’t a shred of evidence to indicate that New Jersey’s former governor is culpable of any criminal acts.

   Yet, the media is bursting with baseless implications, and Congress called its former colleague to testify about the losses. Last Thursday, Corzine told the elected officials, "I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date. I do not know which accounts are unreconciled or whether the unreconciled accounts were or were not subject to the segregation rules."

   Corzine didn’t have to a say a word. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows him to remain silent. Still, he decided to speak. For some who disliked Corzine as a governor or senator, this was surely a satisfying moment: to see the man nervous, fearing for his reputation and maybe even liberty, testifying in front of congress. However, those who felt that way should reassess their own moral values—and their understanding of justice.

   Jon Corzine should never have been called to testify in front of Congress. No one in the media nor in public office nor at the water coolers should be accusing him of criminal activity. Why? Because there’s no damn evidence of criminal conduct. This should be everyone’s worst fear—being falsely accused of a crime. But it seems that many people wear blinders, unless it’s their own back that’s on the line; then all of sudden, they have a reckoning. Others aren’t wearing blinders, but have whipped out magnifying glasses in an effort to start the burning.

   A slippery slope that leads to Styx and Hades has long been oiled with various Satan-like creatures of overzealous prosecutors and rival politicians pushing sleighs full of innocent elected officials and others down the path of injustice. The Salem-decedent-inquisitors’ motives vary from power to limelight to greed to just plain evil intent. Some victims are handpicked for the witch trial prosecutions. Others are scapegoats. Why Corzine is under the yoke of the crazed hatchet masters now is unclear.

   One explanation is that Corzine is a very influential Democrat, who not too long ago was a formidable presidential candidate. This makes him a prime target for Republican foes. But this is too simple, too basic.

   Did he also anger some within his own party? Was he too cocky? Not cocky enough? Did he not support the right person? Maybe he supported the wrong person?

   Or how about something totally different. Something supposedly on the outskirts of the Washington playing field, but really is the beating heart of its inner core. Maybe Corzine angered another heavy hitter in his other life. His life on Wall Street that was fully active pre- and post- elected office, and somewhere lurking in shadows while he held his public posts. Perhaps the former governor has a very powerful enemy in the most elite of the big banks. And with MF’s financial meltdown, this behind-the-scenes power monger unleashed a PR firestorm, and undertook a few congressional henchmen to further the cause.

   Or, maybe, the lunacy of the hunt to hammer Wall Street types has risen to the level of the craze that has raged against politicians for years. It may be hard to sympathizes with arrogant political leaders and financial industry executives making millions but, factually, far too many have been the victims of false accusations. This, all a result of the overzealous prosecutors’ and rival politicians’ quest for power and glory—and a sad function of society’s need for revenge. Corzine - a player on both the political and Wall Street teams - has landed himself into the crosshairs of both bullet-ridden paths. Add to this potent recipe of power abuse, an unfortunate misunderstanding of the law, and Corzine - not quite as strong as he used to be - just can't escape the blasting shells being bombed at him.

   Perhaps Jon Corzine mismanaged MF Global much in the same way that he did the state of New Jersey. Maybe he was negligent in the oversight of his employees. And it’s possible – the same as it is that sun may fall to the Earth tomorrow – that he has served as a criminal mastermind and heisted over a billion dollars from MF Global customers. But I think not. There has been no evidence whatsoever introduced to even minimally indicate that the man is a criminal.

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