AUSTIN, Texas – A major poultry producer is reported to have paid more than $9,000 for airfare for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and aides to attend a Washington news conference to promote a waiver of federal ethanol mandates.

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. has been one of the loudest corporate voices in the call to reduce the ethanol mandate. A coalition of industry, environmental and consumer groups has called for the waiver as food prices have risen sharply in the past year. Opponents of the mandates have said that relying on corn for ethanol has put pressure on prices for livestock feed and foods that use corn and corn syrup.

Pilgrim’s Pride co-founder Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim has also reportedly donated money to Perry’s political committee a month after the waiver request and to Texas Comptroller Susan Combs 11 days before the request. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, who has also supported the waiver request, did not report receiving any money from Pilgrim, sources say. The contributions were included in campaign finance reports received by two Texas newspapers.

Pilgrim’s Pride has not responded to messages left requesting comment.


Source: Associated Press