Strategy: Elected Officials Must Focus on DOJ’s Failure to Indict DFA/Dean Foods

 

Background:

    In late August 2006, the Antitrust Division recommended to senior officials at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that indictments be brought against Dairy Farmers of America (the nation’s largest dairy farmers’ cooperative) and Dean Foods (the nation’s largest fluid milk processor).

    These recommendations concluded a two-year investigation into anti-competitive practices in the U.S. dairy industry that expanded to a joint, federal-state task force that included about 20 states’ Attorneys General offices.

 

    BUT SINCE LATE AUGUST, THE POLITICAL FIGURES AT THE TOP OF DOJ HAVE TAKEN NO ACTION ON THESE RECOMMENDED INDICTMENTS.  ONLY CLAMOR FROM OUTRAGED PERSONS--DIRECTED TO THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS IN THE U.S. SENATE AND CONGRESS--WILL FORCE DOJ “DO THE RIGHT THING”: FOLLOW THROUGH ON THE ANTITRUST DIVISION’S RECOMMENDATIONS TO CRIMINALLY CHARGE DFA AND DEAN FOODS.

 

    To help you participate in this project, The Milkweed has assembled background information and contact details for critical U.S. Senators and Representatives.   We urge you to contact your Senator(s) and Representative, as well as members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.  Ask them to find out why U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and top level DOJ officials are ignoring the recommended indictments stemming from the Antitrust Division’s two-year dairy investigation.

 

    For the past dozen years, DFA (and its predecessor co-op, Mid-America Dairymen) abused honest competition in dairy, far and wide.  After a two year investigation that resulted in Antitrust officials’ recommendations to indict, if DOJ’s top officials take no action, then we can conclude that DFA will become even more dangerous in its thievery and intimidation.             

 

    If you want to stop these attacks against dairy farmers’ milk markets, you must get involved:

 

    * Contact your elected officials, by phone, letter or e-mail.  Ask them to contact Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, demanding that he pursue the recommended indictments.  Letters, phone calls and e-mails to your U.S. Senators, your Congressional representative, and members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committee are critical.

           

    * Push dairy and agriculture organizations to contact elected officials on this matter.

 

    * Write letters to the editor of newspapers and farm publications, urging that DOJ pursue indictments of DFA and Dean Foods.

 

    REPEAT … after two years of investigation by federal Antitrust officials, if DFA and Dean Foods get away with all they’ve done, then the U.S. dairy industry holds no hospitable future for honest folks and businesses.      

 

Suggested “Talking Points” for your letters, phone calls, and/or emails

 

    * Is there no “Justice” for dairy?  A two-year investigation by DOJ’s Antitrust division recommended indictments against DFA and Dean Foods in late August 2006.  But top-level DOJ officials have done nothing.

 

    * DFA has repeatedly engaged in anti-competitive actions in the U.S. dairy industry.  The biggest attacks have involved taking over dairy farmers’ access to milk markets, and forcing thousands of farmers to sell their milk through DFA or its joint ventures.

 

    * Many of these actions have violated the 1977 Consent Decree that the U.S. Department of Justice forced upon DFA’s predecessor co-op, Mid-America Dairymen.  That Consent Decree prohibits the co-op from using “coercion” against dairy producers’ milk markets.

 

    * DFA has repeatedly manipulated dairy commodity cash markets at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, driving up retail prices paid by consumers for milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and ice cream.

            

MAKE YOUR COMMUNICATION MORE EFFECTIVE BY USING YOUR OWN WORDS, EXPERIENCES, INSIGHTS AND OPINIONS.
 

IF WE CAN’T “BRING JUSTICE” TO DAIRY NOW, WHEN CAN THAT EVER BE ACHIEVED???