On Monday, Nov. 6, the Federal District Court of Montana granted a motion from the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) to expand its current free speech lawsuit against the Beef Checkoff Program to additional states beyond the original state of Montana. This would bring the number of states involved to at least 14.
The announcement of this incremental legal action—one of many in this increasingly complex case—included strong words from R-CALF’s CEO Bill Bullard. “By redirecting their money to the [Cattlemen’s Beef Board] rather than to their state beef councils, cattle producers can reduce the amount of money now flowing to the NCBA [National Cattlemen’s Beef Association] under the group’s pay-to-play scheme, which we believe is a form of money laundering.”
In NCBA’s response, its CEO, Kendal Frazier, flatly denied accusations of misuse of funds “invested in the Federation of State Beef Councils.” “It has been repeatedly demonstrated that these attacks by R-CALF are being aided by allies at the Humane Society of the United States, Food and Water Watch, Public Justice and other activist organizations that stand against cattlemen and women,” he said.