In an open letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, called for the removal of J. Dudley Butler as head of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA). Mr. Butler’s tenure as Administrator has come under scrutiny for recent regulatory changes he supervised.
The rulings in question would lessen the evidence required in establishing “undue preference” claims against companies under Sections 202(a) and (b) of the Packers and Stockyards Act, making it easer for trial lawyers to bring, and win, frivolous suits against the American meat industry. Before running GIPSA, as a trial lawyer Mr. Butler made a career out of suing companies under these exact regulations; he stands to profit from the reworked regulations upon his expected return to the private sector.
“These changes make it much easier for trial lawyers to squeeze money from the American meat industry with little proof of actual wrongdoing,” Norquist advised Vilsack. “There is no reason to believe that Mr. Butler will not revisit this sort of litigation after his term at GIPSA.”
Mr. Butler himself has made no secret of the “big money” that will result from the new rules. Neither the USDA (GIPSA’s parent department) nor the Obama administration has yet made a move to curtail these regulatory malefactions.
“Today, tort reform remains a pressing issue, with attorneys making millions off of frivolous lawsuits across the nation. Taxpayers are unintentionally funding these suits by paying Mr. Butlers salary. If Mr. Butler is allowed to continue at GIPSA, your administration will be aggravating an already serious situation,” wrote Norquist.