Fallon points to corporate livestock contributions

by 5m Editor
27 January 2006, at 12:00am

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. &quot;We&#39;ve seen a tremendous growth in confinements,&quot; Fallon said. &quot;There is a connection between that continued growth in corporate confinements and campaign contributions. Unfortunately, Secretary Judge&#39;s campaign finance records show a very clear connection between those two things.&quot; Fallon said Judge, the state&#39;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&#39;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. &quot;This is all perfectly legal and that&#39;s the most disturbing thing of all,&quot; Fallon said. Judge accused Fallon of &quot;trying to scapegoat an important segment of Iowa&#39;s economy. &quot;I am proud of the support I have received from Iowa&#39;s pork industry over the years,&quot; Judge said. &quot;They are citizens of Iowa and have every right to contribute to candidates and be a part of the political process.&quot; Judge said the state is the nation&#39;s largest producer of hogs, employing 63,000 people and adding $12 billion to the state&#39;s economy each year. Judge also said regulation of hog confinements is done by the Department of Natural Resources and not her agency. <i>Source: Agrinews</i>

5m Editor