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Leader of USDA Organic Program Subject of Ethics Investigation

milesmcevoy-usda.jpg

Deputy Administrator
Miles McEvoy
Source: USDA

After a request to the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), sworn law enforcement agents from the regulatory agency’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) have begun an ethics investigation into the conduct of the head bureaucrat at USDA’s National Organic Program, The Cornucopia Institute reported.

Miles McEvoy, AMS Deputy Administrator, is under scrutiny for allegedly failing to enforce federal organic standards, giving favorable treatment to corporate agribusiness interests, and undermining the integrity of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), an advisory body authorized by Congress to help oversee the organic industry.

An AMS law enforcement officer flew to Wisconsin earlier this year to interview Cornucopia’s two codirectors, Will Fantle and Mark Kastel, and take sworn statements. More recently, the agent also met with Mr. Kastel, conducting an extensive interview, in Staunton, Virginia.

“This began with a formal letter to the OIG alleging that Mr. McEvoy was making inappropriate, agribusiness-favorable decisions in closing formal legal complaints Cornucopia had filed,” Cornucopia’s Kastel explained. “Now it has expanded based on serious concerns about ethical lapses in carrying out his job overseeing the NOSB under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).”

The complaints Cornucopia filed, which Mr. McEvoy closed without an investigation, contained hundreds of aerial photographs of 13 industrial-scale livestock facilities documenting what Cornucopia described as “illegal confinement practices” for thousands of dairy cattle and hundreds of thousands of laying hens.

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