Michele Bachmann Loves Government Pork
Especially when it benefits her district:
A Freedom of Information Act request for communications the Minnesota Republican has had with the Department of Agriculture shows that she leaned heavily on federal officials for help — never more so than when it came to aiding the pork and dairy producers in her state.
On Oct. 5, 2009, Bachmann wrote Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack praising him for injecting money into the pork industry through the form of direct government purchases. She went on to request additional assistance.
“Your efforts to stabilize prices through direct government purchasing of pork and dairy products are very much welcomed by the producers in Minnesota, and I would encourage you to take any additional steps necessary to prevent further deterioration of these critical industries, such as making additional commodity purchases and working to expand trade outlets for these and other agricultural goods,” Bachmann wrote.
At the time, the pork industry was facing a two-pronged calamity: fallout from the H1N1 influenza crisis and the ripple effects of the recession. Pork producers had lost nearly $4.6 billion in equity since 2007 and Vilsack, sensing greater market doom, had injected funds into the industry at least four times since that spring. In March 2009, the USDA purchased $25 million in pork, in April it made a $50 million purchase and in July it bought 775,000 pounds of ham, according to reports. In September, just one month before receiving Bachmann’s letter, Vilsack had signed off on $30 million in additional federal purchases of pork.
Michele Bachmann has long had the public reputation as someone who opposed earmarks and other forms of “pork barrel” spending, as she said in this April 2010 appearance on Fox Business Channel:
When the GOP actually took over Congress in November and banned earmarks, though, Bachmann was among those who sought to redefine some forms of directed spending to get around the earmark ban.When the rubber hits the road it seems, those principles don’t really matter much and government pork, literal government pork in this case, is a good thing so long as it benefits Bachmann’s constituents, and her family which itself benefits from farm subsidies. Hypocrisy is a strong word, but I think it clearly applies here.