'Treasure MAP:' Under fire again - The Packer

'Treasure MAP:' Under fire again

06/15/2012 02:45:00 PM
Tom Karst

National Editor Tom KarstThe Market Access Program is under fire again, and one opponent has given it the moniker "Treasure MAP."

This time, the chief fire starter is Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. His office put out a news release yesterday describing a "new oversight report" on MAP. From the news release:

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) today released a new oversight report, “Treasure MAP: The Market Access Program’s Bounty of Waste, Loot and Spoils Plundered from Taxpayers” highlighting more than $2 billion in taxpayer dollars indirectly subsidizing the advertising costs of some of the most profitable agriculture companies and trade associations doing business overseas.

You will recognize many of these company brands as household names, such as Welch’s, Sunkist, and Blue Diamond. Despite their combined $2 billion in sales in 2009, Treasure MAP shows how these companies received more than $6 million in 2012 from taxpayers for product promotion.

Also receiving millions from taxpayers for private overseas advertising are the agricultural trade groups whose members include Tyson Foods, Purina, Hershey’s, Georgia-Pacific and Jack Daniels. With a multitude of other agriculture, and fiscal priorities facing our nation, this report shows it is time to reduce funding for the Market Access Program (MAP).

“At a time when we are cutting funding for our troops, taxpayers cannot continue to subsidize the filming of Reality-TV shows in India, wine tastings for foreign journalists, pet food advertising, and even to advertise pet shampoo anymore,” said Dr. Coburn. “We need to make tough choices.”

Among the key findings, the report exposes:

• Blue Diamond Growers almond company has received more than $28 million from MAP since 1999 to market its almonds overseas.

• Reality TV fashion and design show in India, Let’s Design, received $20 million.

• One of the world’s biggest sellers of fresh fruit, Sunkist Growers, received $34.1 million since 1999.

• California raisin growers received $31.7 million since 1998 to promote branded image California Raisins, internationally.

• A company specializing in organic hair products for dogs, cats, and horses, including “Boost! Volumizing Spray” and “Freeze! Hair Hold” hair sprays for dogs, Espree Animal Products, receives MAP funds to boost sales in the U.S. and overseas.

Examples of overlap and duplication:

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