Paul Hodes has a dirty little secret. His ‘commitment’ to green energy has strings attached that lead directly to the sugar industry and a significant campaign cash “Thank You.”
Back in 2007 and 2008 Congress waged an epic battle over the Farm Bill. They didn’t call it the farm bill they called it the Food Nutrition and Bio-Energy Act. What it was (or became) was a 288 billion dollar sop to the agriculture industry with a focus on approving billions into ethanol subsidies for the farm belt before the 2008 elections.
To hide the real purpose the democrats tossed in money for food stamps and school lunches so that any effort to kill it could be spun as evil Republicans starving the poor and denying underprivileged students a hot nutritious lunch. When some republicans balked, the left jumped. And when George Bush, who was still friendly to the idea of ethanol mandates, vetoed both the bill (HR 2419) and the supplement that added in some items left out of the original (HR 6124) the democrat majority House overturned both vetoes. (Both henceforth to be referred to simply as the “farm bill”)
So Paul Hodes not only voted for the hand outs, he voted for them four times: twice to pass the original bills and twice to overturn the vetoes. Does that show commitment? I think it does.
So what was so important? NAFTA was about to remove the sugar tariff advantage for American growers of sugar beets and cane to competition from Mexico. This would drive the price of sugar down removing a regressive tax on American families who have been paying as much as 11 cents more per pound for everything that has sugar in it as a result of US tariffs on imported sugar. But Hodes farm bill fixed that problem for this favored special interest.
The sugar ethanol program…will cost the government money. Here’s how. Instead of the old forfeiture program, the government will set up a brokerage, steering excess sugar into the ethanol market. Ethanol producers will make purchase bids, sugar processors will make sale bids, the government will put deals together. But these transactions will occur at prices below the federal floor price and the government will pay sugar processors the difference.
How do they get it done? (Still from NPR)
Mr. DAVID KRAGNES (Chairman, American Crystal Sugar Company): … when the farm bill time comes, hopefully, you have made some relationships with the staff that have endured and then you explain to them once again why the provisions you put in – suggested to be put in any one bill are good for America.””
Good for the sugar and farm lobby is more like it. So did the relationships pay off?
This Farm bill not only found a new way to prop up sugar prices for a powerful lobby at taxpayer expense, it removed significant barriers that had been preventing sugar growers from investing in ethanol refineries and delivery systems by funding them with hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.
Hodes Farm bill carved out grants for bio-energy, funded the construction of bio-fuel refineries, and provided hundreds of millions in price supports for the ethanol they would produce. It even offered tax credits to bio fuel manufacturers on top of the sweet deal to buy up Sugar and reimburse growers of sugar beets and cane sugar on the taxpayer dime.
Did I mention that passage of the $288 billion dollar farm bill violated Pay-Go rules put in place by Pelosi’s most ethical 110th congress? It did. Congress ignored its own rule, passed the bill, overrode two vetoes, and what of it?
Hodes helped remove the cost barriers to the ethanol industry that had been keeping companies like American Crystal Sugar (ACSC) from using its products and by products (cellulosic ethanol can be made from the beet greens), to take advantage of the political will to add more ethanol into the fuel supply. The American Crystal Sugar Company rewarded Paul Hodes 2008 campaign with a $10,000.00 contribution.
So Hodes rhetoric on energy can now be reevaluated in the proper context. When he says he’s standing up to Republicans who are willing to let big oil create good jobs and cheap energy with Big oil profits, he’s letting you know he actually prefers robbing you, telling you what he thinks is best for you, and then acting the hypocrite to hide just how much of a connected DC insider he actually is.
So It’s not a question of who supports what kind of energy, it’s about who is positioned to take advantage of the insider arrangements—the a-typical cart before the horse deal making that congressman Hodes promises you he is against—while he is getting compensated for advancing regulatory changes that benefit his big players.
Hodes helped solve problems for major agro-energy interests with billions of your dollars in the same year American Crystal Sugar gives Hodes a $10,000.00 campaign contribution.
That’s not a coincidence.
Cross Posted from NH Insider