For Immediate Release
Garrett Russo 202.408.5565
CREW Calls For Agriculture Official to Be Recused From Work on Regulations
WASHINGTON - Is a former trial lawyer turned government official making policy decisions at the Department of Agriculture that will serve his future personal financial interests? It is a question Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is asking the department's general counsel to investigate after learning that J. Dudley Butler, the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, has boasted about putting in place regulations that make it easier to sue meat and poultry companies.
Prior to joining the administration, Mr. Butler's legal practice involved suing the companies he now regulates.
"When he took office, President Obama issued an order closing the revolving door that allowed departing executive branch officials to cash in on their government service. While the new policy was aimed at those who lobby after leaving office, the same rationale applies here. Mr. Butler stands to benefit financially once he leaves the government by exploiting a loophole he helped create," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. "Whether or not this meets the legal standard of a conflict of interest, it seems wrong. The Department of Agriculture should bar Mr. Butler from continued work on these regulations and the department should consider reissuing them for further public comment."
Click here to read CREW's letter to the Department of Agriculture's Acting General Counsel.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.