Is a former trial lawyer turned government official making policy decisions at the USDA that will serve his future personal financial interests? It is a question Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, is asking the department's general counsel to investigate after learning that J. Dudley Butler, the Administrator of the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, has boasted about putting in place regulations that make it easier to sue meat and poultry companies.  Prior to joining the administration, Butler's legal practice involved suing the companies he now regulates. 

"When he took office, President Obama issued an order closing the revolving door that allowed departing executive branch officials to cash in on their government service.  While the new policy was aimed at those who lobby after leaving office, the same rationale applies here. Mr. Butler stands to benefit financially once he leaves the government by exploiting a loophole he helped create," said Melanie Sloan CREW executive director. "Whether or not this meets the legal standard of a conflict of interest, it seems wrong. The Department of Agriculture should bar Mr. Butler from continued work on these regulations and the department should consider reissuing them for further public comment."

Read CREW's letter to the USDA's Acting General Counsel.

Source: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics