Lincoln's farm subsidies | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lincoln's farm subsidies

Posted By on Sat, Mar 13, 2010 at 6:28 AM

Paul Barton in Washington does a little more digging into criticism raised about Sen. Blanche Lincoln's key role in federal agriculture subsidies and her family's receipt of such benefits. Her own share is quite small and one ethics watchdog sees no dilemma in the situation for Lincoln.

Lincoln farm payments 'no problem'

By Paul Barton

The head of a major Washington watchdog group said she sees no ethical dilemma with Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and her family having received farm subsidies while Lincoln has voted on and shaped farm aid as a senator.

“I don’t see a problem,” said Melanie Sloan, who runs Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Why? “Because she’s not the only one receiving subsidies,” the ethics maven added.

Questions about Lincoln - long a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and now its chair - and subsidies received by farms owned by the Lambert family of Phillips County (her maiden name) have been raised intermittently during her nearly 12 years in the upper chamber.

The liberal website firedoglake.com, already unhappy with Lincoln because of her stands on health care and other issues, brought the issue up anew earlier this month.

An article on the website said “there’s something very sleazy about fighting for bigger ag subsidies while collecting them.”

Updated figures provided this week to the Arkansas Times  by the Environmental Working Group shows persons and corporations related to Lambert family farms in Phillips County received $770,000 from 1995-2009 under federal subsidy programs.

The group, which has done groundbreaking work the past decade in tracking the recipients of subsidies, has Lincoln herself as only receiving $2,652. The money went to “Blanche Lambert” of Arlington, Va., where Lincoln has her Washington home. It was dispensed between 2003 and 2005.

Farming operations owned by her brother, Jordan Lambert III, have received the lion’s share - $510,167, its figures show. The group shows subsidies continuing to flow to Martha Lambert of Phillips County, Lincoln’s mother, through 2009. Those total $170,269.

Also a part of the farm-ownership arrangements operated by her brother is sister-in-law Lisa Lambert, the Environmental Working group said.

Lincoln, who divested herself of her farm holdings in recent years, was listed as 12 percent owner of one farming corporation and a 13 percent owner of another.

Sloan, the head of Crew, said ethical questions were once raised about former Republican Sen. Lauch Faircloth of North Carolina, who worked on subsidy legislation while owning a hog farm that received federal money. The Senate Ethics Committee ruled Faircloth committed no violation because he wasn’t the only one receiving such subsidies, she added, saying that’s way she sees Lincoln’s case.

Sloan, citing the firedoglake.com article, said she disagreed with its conclusion.

But she also said it might have been best if Lincoln had recused herself from some of the subsidy votes, including proposals to put stricter limits on farm payments, which she opposed in both 2002 and 2007. She also delivered passionate floor speeches on the matter.

On Friday, when asked about the matter through her campaign staff, Lincoln issued the following statement:

“I vote on legislation that affects my life in a variety of ways, from tax measures that I abide by as a taxpayer to Medicare changes that affect my mother, uncles and aunts.  Farm payments are no different and do not present a conflict of interest.  Throughout my career I have actively promoted my proud heritage as the daughter of a seventh generation farm family which links me to the life experiences of many Arkansans.  My advocacy for southern farm policy is derived not from my personal interest or my family’s interest but from the state I represent where more than 25 percent of the economy depends on agriculture production.  I stopped receiving personal benefit from the Lambert family farm enterprise in 2005 when I sold my one-ninth share.  This transaction has always been available for public inspection on my annual personal financial disclosure statement for that year.”


Favorite

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • More reorganization news

    Some further news on the government reorganization front includes a memo sent to agencies by the governor's chief of staff, Alison Williams, last week.
    • Sep 18, 2018
  • The New Yorker profiles Sarah Huckabee Sanders

    Paige Williams, profiling Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the current New Yorker, describes the pugilistic Sanders as "Trump's battering ram." Bottom line: As defensive as ever.
    • Sep 18, 2018
  • Judge acquits teacher on charge from TV station

    Lance Fritchman, a Little Rock School District teacher, was acquitted by District Judge Hugh Finkelstein Monday of a criminal trespass charge filed after a series of contentious visits and messages to KARK and Fox 16.
    • Sep 18, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017

Slideshows

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation