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39th Anniversary of the Milk Bribe

March 23, 2010 is the 39th Anniversary of the Milk Bribe

Never before had a President been recorded taking a bribe. While writing MILK: The Deadly Poison, I discovered transcripts of Richard Nixon's actual meeting with dairymen on March 23, 1971. Shortly after my discovery, I filed a freedom of information act request for a copy of the Watergate tape which confirms that Richard Nixon was a crook. The bribe givers also committed a criminal act on that day.

More than 2 1/2 years after taking his $3 million cash bribe from the dairy industry, which helped finance the Watergate break-in, Richard Nixon delivered his most famous line during a televised question-and- answer session with 400 A.P. reporters on 11/11/1973:

"The people have got to know if their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook."

Towards the end of the TV interview, the question was asked whether his administration raised milk support prices in exchange for campaign contributions from the milk lobby. Denying the charge, Nixon said that Democrats led the fight in the House and Senate for higher milk prices.

Nixon never imagined that the Watergate tapes would be released to expose how the dairy industry manipulates elected officials.

Knowing the tapes were running, and having been presented with $3 million dollars in cash, Nixon was recorded saying:

"Uh, I know...that, uh, you are a group that are politically very conscious... And you're willing to do something about it. And, I must say a lot of businessmen and others...don' t do anything about it. And you do, and I appreciate that. And I don't have to spell it out."

After the dairymen had left, advisor John Connally was alone with Nixon, and said:

"They are tough political operatives. This is a cold political deal."

A few years ago, I purchased from a retiring farmer 50 years of Hoard's Dairyman, the dairy farmer's magazine. After thumbing through old issues, I found new evidence.

The April 10, 1971 issue went to press at about the same time Nixon was meeting with the dairymen. At that time, Clifford Hardin was America's Secretary of Agriculture.

Hoard's reported that milk prices would not be raised during 1971 because there was an increase in milk production, and the government found no logical support for a price hike. Here is what Hoard's wrote:

"Price supports will continue at $4.66 in marketing year starting April 1. Secretary Hardin cited increased milk production as reason for not boosting support level."

The following issue of Hoard's, published on April 25th, 1971, contained this report:

"The dairy support increase still has everybody talking here. Veteran observers can't believe yet that President Nixon moved so quickly. There's a new respect for the four large dairy cooperatives that persuaded the President the 27-cent increase was justified."

Within that issue, Hoard's places an indelible timeline upon the delivery of $3 million in cash, and Nixon's shocking change of mind.

The "bribe" was delivered on a Tuesday afternoon, March 23, 1971. On the morning of March 25th, Nixon announced at his Cabinet session that a 27 cent increase would take effect seven days later. Hoard's wrote:

"There was great surprise in the nation's Capitol and joy among dairy farmers. A change in position of this magnitude has not been noted in many decades."

Hoard's knew nothing about the bribe. They reported:

"There is little doubt in anyone's mind that full credit for persuading the President is due almost entirely to the work and support of the four cooperatives named on page 471."

A detailed article on page 471 revealed the identities of the four dairy groups:

Associated Milk Producers, Inc., Mid-America Dairymen, Inc., Dairymen Inc., and Pure Milk Products Cooperative. Try not to laugh. Hoard's writes:

"Dairymen in attendance at the meeting told Hoard's Dairyman they were impressed with the the President's deep interest in their case and the penetrating questions he asked."

What seems to have been penetrated from behind was the integrity of the American people.

What did this $3 million dollar "investment" do for the dairy industry? In 1971, 120 billion pounds of milk were produced. An additional 27 cents per hundred pounds of milk translated to $324 million extra dollars for the dairy industry.

On March 23, 1971, Secretary of the Treasury, John Connally summarized the day's events to Nixon:

"These dairymen are organized; they're adamant, they're militant...And they, they're massing an enormous amount of money that they're going to put into political activities, very frankly."

The dairy farmer? He's a nice sort of fellow who always believed that he was producing a healthy product for Americans. Those who run his industry? Unethical to the soul. It takes two parties to betray Americans by selling them out. One elected official accepts the cash while the other party conceives of the plan and pays the bribe. On March 23, 1971, that is exactly what happened in the Oval Office.

Robert Cohen
http://www.notmilk. com

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