Albion Monitor /News
[Editor's note: For additional background on the connections between Dole and ADM, see "Dole's Greatest Harvest" in an earlier edition of the Albion Monitor.]

Big GOP Donor Also Biggest Anti-Trust Violator

by Theo Emery

"These are some of the serious questions that will remain unaddressed"

(IPS) BOSTON -- Republican White House hopeful Bob Dole unleashed scathing attacks on President Bill Clinton for accepting illegal campaign contributions from Indonesian businessman James Riady in the final weeks of the campaign, but Dole remained silent on the financial improprieties of one of his biggest supporters.

That supporter is global agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).

"This year, these are some of the serious questions that will remain unaddressed," says Bill Hogan of the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity. "The American people are understandably concerned about these activities, and not one of them are addressed."

Dole has largely been silent in the past on the issue of his close association with Andreas

It was over a week ago that the Illinois-based ADM agreed to pay the largest anti-trust settlement in U.S. history. And Dole staffers confirm that their boss has made no statements on the campaign trail regarding the price-fixing charges against his own long-time political supporter.

The tight-lipped candidate had good reason to avoid appearing in the same spotlight with officials at ADM. The Illinois-based soy and corn processor pleaded guilty Oct. 14 to two separate charges of fixing global prices on citric acid and Lysine, a food additive for pigs and chickens.

It must now pay fines amounting to $100 million, seven times the previous record for anti-trust violations.

ADM officials have also agreed to cooperate with the Government on the ongoing anti-trust investigation. In exchange, all ADM employees are shielded from prosecution, with the exception of Vice-Chairman Michael D. Andreas and Terrance S. Wilson, president of the company's corn-processing division.

The two officers stepped down at the company's annual stockholder meeting Oct. 17, with Wilson citing health reasons for his retirement.

In contrast to last year's meeting, when shareholders were prevented from criticizing ADM for the ongoing investigation, ADM chairman Dwayne Andreas was contrite over the price rigging, extending apologies for his company's behavior and offering his own resignation, which shareholders rejected.

"Throughout modern political history, Andreas' name and ADM are recurring themes," says Hogan. When accusations were leveled at Dole last year on the propriety of purchasing a cut-rate Florida apartment from Andreas, his aides denied wrongdoing, claiming that Andreas' "ownership interest on this particular unit was unknown to (the Doles)."

Dole supported $1 billion in federal subsidies

The $12-billion company, which bills itself as the "Supermarket to the World," has walked lockstep with Dole on his political travels since 1979. The company's famous largess toward Mr. Dole -- over $200,000 in contributions to his campaign and political action committee, as well as his monthly excursions aboard ADM's aircraft -- has earned the company the rank of the candidate's fourth largest patron.

In return, the former Senate majority leader has shepherded legislation through Congress that has helped boost ADM's profits handsomely over the decades. As of last year, ADM produced 65 percent of the nation's ethanol, an industry buoyed through the year 2000 by subsidies amounting to $475 million.

Other subsidies have garnered ADM an additional $425 million from the Federal government, and the company has received over $134 million over the last decade from the Export Enhancement Program, for which Dole has been a strong advocate. In total, 43 percent of ADM's profits result from products subsidized by taxpayers and government policy, according to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank.

ADM is the largest processor of wheat, corn, and soybeans in the United States. The company handles about 10 percent of world grain trade, and last fiscal year, had $6.5 billion in exports of grains, corn sweeteners, soy products, and oils.

ADM is also the world's largest producer of Lysine, a corn-derived amino acid that enhances muscle growth and is widely considered a means to combat hunger in developing countries. ADM exports 50 percent of their Lysine into a $500-million market, shared by Tokyo-based Ajinomoto Co., and Kyowa Hakko Ltd., both of which were also found guilty of price fixing.

As a Senator from the primarily agricultural state of Kansas, Dole has been a fierce partisan for other large agri-business firms.

The banana empire of Chiquita Brands International, owned by the multi-millionaire Lindner family, has funnelled roughly a million dollars to Republicans as well as the Democratic Party in 1994 and 1995, mostly in unregulated "soft money" contributions to parties, and has flown candidate Dole to campaign appearances on company jets.

The watchdog group Center for Public Integrity alleges that the company's generosity sparked Dole's advocacy for trade sanctions against Costa Rice, Colombia, and banana-exporting countries of the Caribbean, with the argument that these countries are illegally undercutting markets for U.S. companies that export bananas from elsewhere in Latin America.

Both Republicans and Democrats charged with "the most massive violations of the campaign finance laws since the Watergate scandal"

Dole is second only to Republican Senator John Seymour in donations received from agri-business. In 1991, Dole received 65,500 dollars from the sector. In that year, ADM was the top contributor of "soft money" in agri-dollars, donating $1.3 million, mostly to the Republican National Committee.

Democrats as well as Republicans benefit from soft money. As of Sept. 30, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $81 million for this campaign, $20 million in the last three months.

Republicans, long accused of pandering to donors such as tobacco-producer R.J. Reynolds, have lashed out at Democrats for the illegal $250,000 received from the Riady family while Congress was contemplating the sale of nine F-16 planes to the Indonesian government.

And the Center for Public Integrity documents report that following a 1994 loan of $3.5 million to the DNC from Nations-Bank in the United States, the Clinton administration backed interstate banking changes contributions.

This year's race has brought into sharp relief the cozy relationship between candidates and the business sector.

Just last week, Common Cause, a Washington-based campaign watchdog group, charged both Republicans and Democrats with "the most massive violations of the campaign finance laws since the Watergate scandal" that brought down former president Richard Nixon.

In this year's election, "soft money" contributions to the two major political parties reached nearly three times the level of the 1992 election. ADM is one of the nation's highest-ranking soft-money contributors, donating $495,000 to the parties and more than $2.6 million between 1991 and 1996, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics.

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Albion Monitor November 7, 1996 (

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