Congresswoman Kristi Noem is determined to use the power we gave her to protect her family's financial interests:
Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., told reporters Thursday she's considering a cap on direct payments as well and, like Thune and Johnson, is a strong defender of crop insurance programs.
"Producers across South Dakota want a safety net," she said. "Crop insurance is really key to making sure that they can manage their risks. So we're going to make sure that that program remains viable and a useful tool for them" [Ledyard King, "Vilsack: Cuts Loom in Farm Bill," that Sioux Falls paper, 2011.05.26].
Crop insurance is really key to paying the bills at the federally subsidized Noem farm. Noem's husband Bryon continues to advertise his services as a crop insurance salesman. The South Dakota press has mentioned the Noem's massive crop susbidies (the family's Racota Valley Ranch was the 18th largest South Dakota recipient of ag welfare from 1995 to 2009), but it continues to ignore the Congresswoman's clear conflict of interest on crop insurance.
For all Noem's talk of cutting government spending and waste, reporters should be asking her why she so staunchly defends a "textbook example of waste, fraud, and abuse in federal spending," a program where more than 40% of every federal dollar spent has gone to pad the pockets of insurance agents like her husband.
Maybe the answer is so obvious that the press doesn't feel the need to ask. But I'd sure like to.
Related: The Farm Service Agency union wants to take private crop insurance agents out of the business completely and have government employees directly administer this government program. The insurance agents' lobby is understandably unhappy with this proposal. So, surely, are subsidy-slurping Kristi and Bryon.