TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP BLASTS DAIRY CO-OPS FOR LEGISLATING IN THE COURTROOM

For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Campi or Aaron Taylor
October 4, 1999 (202) 467-5300

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today condemned a ruling in federal district court to effectively extend the Northeast Dairy Compact, a milk-pricing cartel that artificially boosts the price of dairy products in New England.  The ruling was engineered by a coalition of dairy cooperatives, who persuaded a federal judge nominated by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to grant an injunction that will enable the compact to live beyond its October 1st termination date.  Sen. Leahy created the dairy compact in a last-minute behind-the-scenes maneuver in the 1996 Farm Bill.

“Without the intervention of Judge William Sessions, the Northeast Dairy Compact would have died a well-deserved death on October 1st,” remarked CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “This latest maneuver, getting Sen. Leahy’s former campaign manager to use his authority as a federal judge to extend the compact, is beyond the pale.”

Judge Sessions’s injunction both extends the compact and prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture from implementing milk marketing order reform.  The injunction gives Leahy and other supporters of the compact breathing room to push for reauthorization of the compact.

“It was not a coincidence that the case landed in Judge Sessions’s lap,” Schatz stated.  “After Congress wisely concluded not to extend the compact’s life, a group of dairy cooperatives from New York and Massachusetts began shopping around for a judge sympathetic to the compact cause.”

Given his relationship with Sen. Leahy, the Judge Sessions ruling was predictable.  Still, Schatz found the situation vexing:  “It is disturbing to see the judicial branch abused in this manner.  Judge Sessions had an ethical obligation to recuse himself from a case so important to his political mentor.”

CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

 

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