Two days later, on March 25, a terse announcement from the Secretary's
office revealed an abrupt reversal in the 1971 price support policy. Hardin
announced that there would, after all, be a rise from the previously announced
level of $4.66 per hundredweight to $4.93 per hundredweight. This 27¢
jump meant an additional cost to the government of approximately 125 million
dollars in 1971. 230 It meant an additional cost to consumers of 500-700
million dollars, but an annual windfall of 500-700 million dollars to the
dairy industry. 231 The adjustment came as a surprise to the Dairy Division
of the Department of Agriculture. The amended docket for the March 25
decision was compiled several weeks afterwards and contains no new economic
information that would have explained the Department's actions. The evidence
indicates that there was another reason for the abrnpt reversal: campaign contributions.
The day before the reversal, March 24, also the day after the meeting with
the President, SPACE gave $25,000 to the Nixon campaign. The total was now
$35,000. That same night, at a "Salute to the President Dinner," Harold Nelson
and Murray Chotiner talked about campaign contributions. Nelson told
Chotiner that the dairy people wanted to make contributions and wanted to
know in what manner they should be made. Chotiner told Nelson that the
checks should be made payable to various committees and that Marion Harrison
(a partner in the Reeves & Harrison firm) would designate which committees
were to receive the funds. 232 On April 5, four days after the new price
support became effective, ADEPT contributed $45,000 to nine Nixon dinner
230 See C.C.C. Docket MCP 98a, Memorandum from Director, Budget Division to Board
of Directors, C.C.C., January 18, 1971, "Availability of Funds Statement" and C.C.C. Docket
MCP 98a, Amendment 1, Memorandum from Director, Budget Division to Board of Directors,
C.C.C., April 5, 1971, "Availability of Funds Statement."
231 Letter from William A. Powell, President, Mid America Dairymen to Mr. and Mrs.
Floyd Spidle, June 7, 1971. Exhibit H to deposition of Gary Hanman. Harold Nelson
estimated that the upward adjustment was "worth at least $300 million" to dairymen.
Nelson deposition at 87.
232 Chotiner deposition at 13.
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