Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to review the impact of enforcement activities by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on specialty crop growers. Specifically, Subcommittee Members addressed growing concerns that DOL is using the "Hot Goods" provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in an arbitrary manner against producers of perishable agricultural commodities without regard for the inevitable destruction of the product and significant economic hardship inflicted on farmers and their employees.
The Ag Minute: Ensuring MF Global Customers Are Treated Fairly
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, Chairman Frank Lucas discusses the efforts of the House Agriculture Committee to uncover the whereabouts of the roughly $1.2 billion in customer funds that remain missing from bankrupt MF Global, and to determine who is responsible for these losses. Last week the House Agriculture Committee held the first hearing on the MF Global bankruptcy with three panels of witnesses, including former CEO of the company, Jon Corzine. Chairman Lucas stresses that the committee will continue to monitor the investigation into MF Global's actions and will work to ensure that customers receive fair treatment throughout the process.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"Across the country, customers who invested with MF Global want answers about what went wrong and when their money will be returned.
"The House Agriculture Committee is trying to get to the bottom of this and held a hearing to examine MF Global's bankruptcy. Although many questions remain, we did gain some insight.
"A trustee has been appointed to help make customers whole again, and has laid the groundwork to return $4.1 billion in customer funds. When the next payments go out, most customers should have recovered two-thirds of their money.
"Somewhere around $1.2 billion in customer funds are still missing. This is unacceptable. Those funds are used to guarantee trades, and by law, must be kept separate from the company’s investment funds. How those funds went missing and where they are now is under investigation.
"There are still a great many questions that remain unanswered, and I assure you that the Agriculture Committee is working hard to get those answers. In the coming months, we’ll continue to press for information about how customer funds disappeared and who is responsible. We’ll examine whether enough is being done to ensure customer funds are protected, and we'll consider whether changes in the current system are appropriate.
"Our highest priority is ensuring that customers have their money returned, and we’ll do all we can to make sure that happens."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.