Udall Raises Eyebrows by Hanging on to Controversial Wall Street Contributions

February 12, 2012

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WASHINGTON, DC – According to his latest FEC filings, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) has yet to follow the precedent of party leadership and return tainted campaign donations from Jon Corzine, the former New Jersey governor as well as Chairman and CEO of the failed financial services company MF Global.

Multiple committees in Congress are currently investigating the brokerage firm’s failure, holding another hearing on its collapse last Thursday. Corzine, a former bond trader himself, testified in front of a Congressional panel back in December of 2011 on the disappearance of nearly $1.2 billion in consumer funds.

MF Global, formerly one of the largest derivatives brokerages in the country, reported this massive shortfall in October of 2011 after filing for bankruptcy, sparking a full-scale Congressional inquiry into the nature of the firm’s operations and sparking questions over whether the company ran afoul of regulations blocking insider trading.  After investing heavily in high-risk European sovereign debt, betting that the European Union would not let its member states default, the firm lost $6 billion dollars and had to file for bankruptcy.

Employees of the firm later admitted that they used money from clients’ accounts to cover liquidity shortfalls in the company, transferring their customer’s money outside the company before announcing their bankruptcy.

MF Global is the largest Wall Street firm to collapse since the infamous failure of Lehman Brothers in September of 2008.

Apart from overseeing the firm’s operations and investments Corzine is a high-profile donor to the Democratic Party.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Corzine has personally given $3.9 million to Democrats over the past two decades, donating $69,300 to various causes and candidates in 2011 alone.  So far, President Obama and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have returned his donations, totaling $70,000 in total.

Though Udall has been an advocate for personal consumer finance protections and a critic of so-called predatory lending practices, he has so far failed to follow the lead of the DNC and the President, choosing instead to hold on to the Corzine contributions, a move some have questioned.

One of his critics, T.Q. Houlton, president of the free-market, grassroots advocacy group Compass Colorado, took aim at Udall this week, accusing the first-term Democrat of hypocrisy.

Holton accused Udall of “symbolically voicing his support for corrupt Wall Street institutions,” and admonished him to “return Corzine’s corrupt donations immediately and start siding with his Colorado constituents instead of New York City bankers.”

Udall’s office could not be reached for comment.

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