Trump Inauguration Bankrolled by Firms Seeking Government Favor

September 29, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

Companies seeking favor from the government wrote big checks for President Donald Trump’s inauguration, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings (pdf) released this week.

In one notable instance, the agrochemical giant Dow—which is trying to kill a federal risk study on its pesticides—gave $1 million for the festivities. Dow’s chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris is a close adviser to Trump and heads a White House manufacturing working group.

Last week, lawyers representing Dow and two other big chemical companies sent letters to the chiefs of three federal agencies asking them to ignore scientific findings that their pesticides cause damage to roughly 1,800 threatened or endangered species, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are “likely to adversely affect” 1,778 of the 1,835 animals and plants the agency examined, including endangered mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Dow claimed the tests had been conducted unreliably and asked the heads of the EPA, the Natural Marine Fisheries Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service to “set aside” the scientific findings. (In March, EPA chief Scott Pruitt announced that he would lift a federal ban on chlorpyrifos, which is also known to cause brain damage in children.)

Green groups were not surprised that Dow was attempting to cast doubt on the results. Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, told the AP that the company was intentionally holding scientists to impossible standards.

“You can’t just take an endangered fish out of the wild, take it to the lab, and then expose it to enough pesticides until it dies to get that sort of data,” Hartl said. “It’s wrong morally, and it’s illegal.”