Common themes are emanating from the Montana Legislature this session: Government is bad. Government programs are bad. Spending money on government programs is bad. The worst level of government? The federal government. Federal mandates are bad. Federal regulations are bad. Federal safety laws are bad. Even federal money is bad.
But wait, maybe not all federal money is bad. Some of the same legislators who rail against government in general, the federal government in particular and all the evils contained therein, have benefitted from large amounts of money to their farm and ranch operations through federal farm subsidy programs over the years.
These payments come in the form of Conservation Subsidies, Disaster Subsidies and Commodity Subsidies for agricultural products like wheat, barley and canola. And many of these payments are quite large. Sixteen Montana legislators benefitted from payments to their operations in excess of $100,000.00 over the time period highlighted in this report (1995-2009), with one House member’s operation bringing in more than one million dollars.
This report looks at all of the currently-serving legislators who benefitted from farm subsidy programs from 1995-2009, noting the top beneficiaries juxtaposed against their expressed views on governmental programs in general. It is important to note that this report is not meant as a critique of farm subsidy programs. The point is to show the hypocrisy that exists between the professed ideological viewpoints of some legislators and their personal willingness to benefit from the very types of programs they publicly condemn. Read the rest of the report here.