An Illinois congressman says many local farmers are victims of the collapse of MF Global. U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Urbana) says the principals of MF Global are primarily to blame, especially chief executive John Corzine, an Illinois native who grew up in Taylorville, attended the University of Illinois and went on to become a U.S. senator from and then governor of New Jersey.

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Johnson says lax regulators with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission deserve a share of culpability too, but wherever you point the finger, the losses are felt in Illinois farm fields.

“We have a co-op here in our district [that] has almost $1 million outstanding. We have associations that represent farmers and others that have been left holding the bag to the tune of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Johnson said at a news conference at his home in Urbana.

The commodity futures trading firm filed for bankruptcy Oct. 31 after suffering investment losses on European bonds. It is alleged that the firm improperly used funds from clients’ commodity futures trading accounts to make those investments, and if that’s true, that may be actionable in criminal and civil court. No criminal charges have yet been filed.

An estimated $1.2 billion is missing. Corzine testified this week before the House Agriculture Committee that he doesn’t know where the money is. Johnson is a member of the committee.

Johnson wants clients to be made whole. “This is rural America that’s been fleeced,” he said.\

(Illinois Radio Network)