The recent agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 2744) has a provision (SEC. 783) in it that transfers the Western Cotton Research Laboratory (WCRL), to two lobbying organizations: the Arizona Cotton Growers Association (ACGA) and Supima.
To justify the conveyance (the terminology used in the legislation) of the WCRL, Congressman Pastor of Arizona, Congresswoman DeLauro of Connecticut, Congressman Kolbe of Arizona and Congressman Bonilla of Texas, at a minimum, told their colleagues in the House of Representatives that the land for the WCRL was originally donated to the U.S. Government by the ACGA and Supima. The donation was for the purpose of building a research facility that would benefit the cotton growing membership of these two lobbying organizations.
But what the representatives conveniently left out when making their argument for the conveyance is that the ACGA and Supima will continue to benefit from the research conducted at the new Western Cotton Research Laboratory which will be relocated at the U.S. Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center.
The actions taken in this conveyance represent an abdication of government oversight at best and lobbying influence at the taxpayers' expense at worst.
Essentially, these two lobbying organizations have seen a sizable return on their initial donation. They get, free of charge, a research facility and improvements made to the land by the federal government. It's all a little shady-see the site for full details. Porkopolis has tried without success to get DeLauro's press people to explain.
Check out the AZ Tribune story, also posted by Porkopolis. Interesting stuff, to be sure.
There is little chance that a faraway land deal with lobbyists will hurt the extremely popular DeLauro, especially as she continues to make most of her headlines from her fight against Wal-Mart. Still, an explanation is in order.
Update: Apparently, DeLauro put her name on this as a favor to another Arizona congressman. Therefore, I'm not quite so sure that this is a story worth following, but I'll keep track of it anyway.