Fallon points to corporate livestock contributions

DES MOINES - State Rep. Ed Fallon on Thursday accused Democratic gubernatorial rival Patty Judge of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from factory farm operations.

"We've seen a tremendous growth in confinements," Fallon said. "There is a connection between that continued growth in corporate confinements and campaign contributions. Unfortunately, Secretary Judge's campaign finance records show a very clear connection between those two things."

Fallon said Judge, the state's agriculture secretary, accepted nearly $45,000 from corporate farming interests last year, a large portion of the $130,000 she raised in her run for the Democratic nomination for governor.

In combing through Judge's disclosure, Fallon said he found a $5,000 contribution from meatpacker Smithfield Foods, and $10,000 each from Alina and Peter DeCoster, who run several hog operations. Sholom and Leah Robashkin, of the Postville kosher meatpacking plant, gave a total of $10,000, Fallon said.

In addition, Fallon said Judge accepted $35,000 in her 1998 campaign from hog companies such as Heartland Pork, Iowa Select and Murphy Farms.

In her 2002 re-election campaign, Judge got $30,000 from Austin J. DeCoster, whose hog operations ran into environmental troubles.

"This is all perfectly legal and that's the most disturbing thing of all," Fallon said.

Judge accused Fallon of "trying to scapegoat an important segment of Iowa's economy.

"I am proud of the support I have received from Iowa's pork industry over the years," Judge said. "They are citizens of Iowa and have every right to contribute to candidates and be a part of the political process."

Judge said the state is the nation's largest producer of hogs, employing 63,000 people and adding $12 billion to the state's economy each year. Judge also said regulation of hog confinements is done by the Department of Natural Resources and not her agency.

Source: Agrinews
calendar icon 27 January 2006
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