By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

                        TRICKY DICK’S QUICK MILK FIX

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

                 Richard Nixon's immortal line was delivered
                 during an hour-long televised question-and-
                 answer session with 400 Associated Press
                 reporters on November 11, 1973.

                 Towards the end of the interview, a question
                 was asked about 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.


                 While writing MILK: The Deadly Poison,
                 I discovered transcripts of Nixon's actual
                 meeting with dairymen on March 23, 1971.

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

                    "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."

                 I had not known all of the facts surrounding
                 this case until recently. After thumbing through
                 old issues of Hoard's Dairyman, the dairy
                 farmer's magazine 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 serving as the 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."

                 HOARD'S EDITORIAL

                 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 "gift" 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 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 $3.24
                 billion 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."

                 People often ask me if I have any concern
                 over a dairy industry lawsuit. I usually laugh
                 at that suggestion. I have zero concern. I
                 don't imagine that they would be that stupid.
                 As a matter of fact, I would welcome such
                 litigation. Imagine Court TV's coverage of
                 "Dairy on Trial?" The immortal words of
                 NBA ballplayer, Charles Barkley, best
                 sum up the likelihood of the dairy industry
                 filing a potential suit against me:

                    "My initial response was to sue her for
                     defamation of character, but then I
                     realized that I had no character."

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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