NATIONAL TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP EXHUMES BURIED SUGAR STUDY

For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Campi
June 16, 1997  (202) 467-5300

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today announced that it has “exhumed” a report by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) that was requested and later buried by Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).  The report, entitled “Elimination of the Federal Sugar Program and Import Limits,” makes the case for elimination of government sugar subsidies.

“The FAPRI report reveals the utter folly of America’s sugar subsidy program,” commented CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “It’s no wonder that Sen. Conrad – a knee-jerk supporter of the sugar program – did not make the report public.”

The FAPRI impact study, requested by Sen. Conrad in 1995, maintains that the U.S. sugar industry will continue to thrive without sugar price supports.  The study also indicates that American sugar growers, who currently enjoy a higher profit margin than most other commodity farmers, would retain their profitability even after the elimination of the sugar program.

“Sen. Conrad must have been stunned by the results of the FAPRI report,” Schatz stated.  “CAGW scoured the Congressional Record and other sources, and was unable to find any evidence that Sen. Conrad ever mentioned the report’s findings, even during debate over the 1996 Farm Bill.  Instead, he chose to silently vote against reforming the sugar subsidy program, despite the report’s conclusion that farmers would not be harmed by elimination of the program.”

Schatz also contends that release of the report during the Farm Bill debate might have provided the handful of votes necessary to eliminate sugar subsidies.  “With a 9-vote margin in the House and a 26-vote margin in the Senate, open discussion of the FAPRI report could have turned the tide in favor of sugar reformers.”

Sen. Conrad’s silence about the FAPRI report is likely no coincidence.  According to the Federal Election Commission, Conrad received $48,000 in political contributions during 1993 and 1994 from sugar companies and beneficiaries of the sugar program.  “Sen. Conrad didn’t get where he is today by biting the hand that feeds him,” Schatz remarked.

CAGW is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to eliminating waste, inefficiency, and mismanagement in the federal government.

 

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