During two days of recent congressional hearings into how as much as $1.2 billion disappeared from MF Global customer accounts, the chief operating officer of the imploding investment firm responded again and again that he did not know.
Yet as the House and Senate interrogated Bradley I. Abelow and other top executives at MF Global Holdings Ltd., lawmakers did not mention Mr. Abelow’s role as a financial adviser for the Environmental Protection Agency, which as of Tuesday listed him as the chairman of its financial advisory board.
Even as he finds himself the public face of a bankruptcy and admitted to lawmakers that he had no idea how client funds disappeared, Congress and the administration have voiced no public concern about Mr. Abelow’s role advising the $8.6 billion government agency on its finances.
“EPA relying on Wall Street for financial guidance is like the blind leading the blind,” said Jeff Ruch, president of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in Washington.
“In Abelow, you have a Wall Street executive who just presided over the disappearance of $1 billion in investor funds purporting to help guide federal infrastructure financing.”
The EPA did not respond to multiple messages concerning Mr. Abelow’s status with the board, though the EPA’s website still reports that he is its chairman and notes his job at MF Global.
When first questioned about Mr. Abelow’s ties to the EPA in early November, just after MF Global declared bankruptcy, EPA officials issued a short statement saying only that he was appointed as chairman of the board on March 10, 2010, and that he is not paid for his position.
Officials declined to say whether they were reviewing his continued service for the board.
An MF Global spokeswoman told The Washington Times shortly after the bankruptcy filing that Mr. Abelow was reviewing all of his outside commitments and obligations.
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