Lobbyists, It’s what’s for dinner

You know those commercials that say “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.” Well, the association that takes a dollar from the sale of each cow for those commercials is in trouble. It appears that they might have been spending some of the money on lobbying as well as travel expenses for family members of the chief executives. That’s not allowed.

Audit Finds Problems in Cattlemen’s Group Spending.
New York Times

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Buffalo Field Campaign's Executive Director, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He was formerly the Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

9 Responses to Audit Finds Problems in Cattlemen’s Spending

  1. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    Same type of stuff that can happen within any type of organization that takes in money, that’s why good internal controls are so important.

    Having an accounting background, I’ve seen or read about hundreds of cases that involve this same kind of stuff. It happens so casually. I bet the guy didn’t think twice about flying his wife out, there are a dozen different ways for someone to rationalize it.

    The lobbying money is more of a gray area. It could just be sloppy accounting and people not paying attention that caused it to happen, or there could have been actual intent. It’s impossible for anyone on the outside to tell.

  2. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    I hear local ranchers continually complaining about the beef check off program, calling it a fraud, referring to incidents just like this. The program was forced into law, in their opinion, by the power of the meat packers to influence legislation in Congress. I’ve yet to meet any rancher in Wyoming who thinks the marketing programs funded by the check off do producers any good, that is, increase their profit margins. What it certainly does is increase the packers’ profit margins.

    RH

  3. avatar WM says:

    This has all the appearances of being a non-story. Let’s see, all of $3,500. It’s not like somebody pocketed a bunch of money illicitly headed south. So the Executive Director’s wife and 3 year old accompanied him to designated venues where was expected to work, as had been done by ED’s of this organization for many years. Big freaking deal. Ken, you ought to be ashamed of this one.

  4. avatar mikepost says:

    The real news is that this is the first time they had an INDEPENDANT audit done. These kinds of boards dont have to “earn” their money so they get a little cavalier with their spending. There are dozens of these for various ag products. Spending org. money on exec’s families is and has always been ethically wrong if not illegal.
    …and WM, the dollar value doesnt matter when it comes to ethics, or getting your outfits tax exempt status revoked…

    • avatar WM says:

      Mikepost,

      Please don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t condone the practice. It just seems kind of petty (especially against the standard of private industry, or private marketing operations or trade groups).

      If there are clear rules they ought to be enforced, and the sanctions appropriate to the infractions. I understood from the article that the rules and history were not so clear as to show this was some flagrant intentional act. Who knows, that might just be the standard smoke job. Subsequently, if the rules are clear and there are more infractions, then they ought to get their ticket pulled.

      Now the kinds of things that really grate on my nerves are these jerks like William Aramony of the United Way that lived large on the donations intended to provide direct help to certain beneficiaries of United Way.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Aramony

  5. avatar Elk275 says:

    I think every organization whether it is cattle or what ever does the same thing. It is just human nature.

  6. avatar Paul White says:

    WM: he’s no longer with United Way. He hasn’t been since 92 or 93 (well before for my time). I’m not sure if he’s still in jail though.
    Just to clarify (I work for a regional United Way).

    • avatar Paul White says:

      ack, and to clarify further; I’m not acting in my professional capacity, I’m just noting he’s been gone since I was a child. Not a current thing.

    • avatar WM says:

      Paul,

      I think if you click on the wikipedia link below my post above, your questions will be answered. He did 84 months for his criminal convictions and was released in 2001. I just wanted to use him as an illustration of a good purpose being compromised as a result of a philanthropic organization executive who thought too much of himself.

      If it were up to me, his punishment would have been one of those dunk tanks where you throw baseballs to hit the trigger for the platform. In his case the tank would be filled with piranhas.

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