March 23, 2010 is the 39th Anniversary of the Milk Bribe
Never before had a President been recorded taking
a bribe. While writing MILK: The Deadly Poison,
I discovered transcripts of Richard Nixon's actual
meeting with dairymen on March 23, 1971. Shortly
after my discovery, I filed a freedom of information
act request for a copy of the Watergate tape which
confirms that Richard Nixon was a crook. The bribe
givers also committed a criminal act on that day.
More than 2 1/2 years after taking his $3 million cash
bribe from the dairy industry, which helped finance the
Watergate break-in, Richard Nixon delivered his most
famous line during a televised question-and- answer
session with 400 A.P. reporters on 11/11/1973:
"The people have got to know if their President
is a crook. Well, I am not a crook."
Towards the end of the TV interview, the question was asked
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.
Nixon never imagined that the Watergate tapes would
be released to expose how the dairy industry
manipulates elected officials.
Knowing the tapes were running, and having been presented
with $3 million dollars in cash, Nixon was recorded saying:
"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
A few years ago, I purchased from a retiring farmer 50 years of
Hoard's Dairyman, the dairy farmer's magazine. After thumbing
through old issues, 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 America's 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
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 "bribe" 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 from behind 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 $324 million 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,
The dairy farmer? He's a nice sort of fellow who always
believed that he was producing a healthy product for
Americans. Those who run his industry? Unethical to the
soul. It takes two parties to betray Americans by selling
them out. One elected official accepts the cash while the
other party conceives of the plan and pays the bribe. On
March 23, 1971, that is exactly what happened in the