Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 6, 1975 · Page 35
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July 6, 1975

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 35

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Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 6, 1975
Page:
Page 35
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Page 35 article text (OCR)

I3C fetu Grain Export Corruption Pervasive, Senator Says WASHINGTON tf - Corruptioa io the gfain export industry is so pervasive that few grain ships have left the port of New Orleans in several years with their cargoes properly graded and weighed, a senator who has just returned from an inspection trip said Saturday. Sen. Dick Clark, D-Iowa, said the nation's major grain exporters and the firms Ifeensed by the Agriculture Department to inspect them maintained a "sweetheart relationship." 'Because of this, he said, ships were not inspected honestly, grain was assigned a higher quality grade than it deserved, and cargoes were shortweighted, a practice in which inspectors certified a ship was carrying more grain than was in its holds. "There was a very pervasive system of corruption," Clark said in a telephone interview from Davenport, Iowa. "That's the way the system works." "Shortweighting is almost as common and as big a crime as misgrading," he said. ^v^He said one major company sold 18 mil- iljbn tons more of grain in one year than its i. books show it received at its elevators. ~-'Clark spent several days last week in *%ew Orleans. *He is a member of the Senate agricul- i^ure subcommittee on foreign agriculture jjolicy and the Senate foreign relations ^subcommittee on multinational corpora- jjvttpns. Both committees are investigating ^he grain scandal, in which 20 persons t-Jiave been indicted in New Orleans and £ Houston. * v Inspectors are licensed by the Agricul- ture Depannment and work for private companies, local boards of trade, or state agencies. The grain companies pay for the inspection service, which is provided to assure the compliance with the Grain Standards Act regulating grain exports. * * * OF THOSE indicted, most have been inspectors charged with bribery. Foreign purchasers of U.S. grain have complained that the gram is shortweighted, that ship's holds are not being properly cleaned, and that the buyers are receiving a poorer quality of grain than the grain for which they are paying. During the New Orleans trip Clark met with U.S. Atty. Gerald Gallinghouse. who is leading the New Orleans phase of the investigation and prosecution. Clark said he could not reveal the substance of his conversation with Galling- house, but he said he left the meetings confident that more indictments would be returned in New Orleans. "There are about 100 inspectors there," he said. "A very significant number of them will be brought to justice." Clark said that the only time grain was properly graded and shipped from New Orleans in the past "five, six, seven or eight years" was when federal officials supervised the inspectors' work. Such supervision was available for about one per cent of the shipments, he said. 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