Millions of Tax…

Millions of Tax Dollars Spent Illegally on Beef Industry Lobbyists, Cattleman Says

The U.S. Department of Agriculture illegally funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to lobbyists for the beef industry, a cattleman claims in Federal Court.
     Michael Callicrate sued the USDA and its Secretary Tom Vilsack; the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee – both based in Centennial, Colo.; and the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
     Callicrate asked the court to stop the payments to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association under the “Beef Checkoff” program. He claims the handouts of public money violate the Beef Research and Information Act of 1985.
     The Beef Research and Information Act was enacted in 1976 to strengthen the beef industry’s position in the marketplace. It allows the Secretary of Agriculture to run a Beef Promotion and Research Order, financed by charging cattle-raisers $1 per head of cattle owned.
     The Act “prohibits the use of Beef Checkoff funds for influencing governmental action or policy: ‘The order [required to be issued by the Secretary under 7 U.S.C. § 2904(1)] shall prohibit any funds collected by the [CBB] under the order from being used in any manner for the purpose of influencing governmental action or policy, with the exception of recommending amendments to the order,'” the complaint states. (Brackets in complaint.)

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