Democrat Accused Of Trying To Hike Pork Prices

( Jeff Ettinger, a Democrat from Minnesota, claims that because of his prior experience in making food cheap, he “knows how to battle inflation.”

Ettinger led Hormel Foods as CEO from 2005 until 2016. But Hormel is currently facing lawsuits that claim the corporation colluded with other pig processors to execute a “typical price-fixing scheme” to raise the cost of ham and bacon during that time. Hormel has stated that the accusations are “absolutely without substance,” yet one of the businesses allegedly implicated in the scam agreed to a $42 million settlement at the beginning of July.

Ettinger is now running in a special election in August to succeed the late Jim Hagedorn, a Republican congressman who passed away in February. Ettinger has tried to ease worries about record-high inflation under President Joe Biden by praising his experience at Hormel. In a July 10 commercial, the Democrat said that because his business was making affordable food, he “knows how to battle inflation.” The following week, he made the same assertion twice more.

However, the price-fixing cases that hang over Hormel may make it difficult for Ettinger to negotiate in a dangerous political environment where people’s anxieties about the economy are driving forces. Ninety-four percent of Minnesotans feel that higher gas and grocery costs have made their life more “difficult” or “inconvenient,” according to a June MinnPost survey.

According to a March Rasmussen survey, 64 percent of probable U.S. voters believe the Biden administration’s actions have exacerbated inflation. Americans see inflation as the country’s worst problem and blame Biden for it.

Ettinger opted not to respond.

To raise hog prices, Hormel allegedly started sharing sensitive information with its rivals in 2009 concerning its “earnings, pricing, costs, and production,” according to the several lawsuits Hormel has faced. The initial case was filed in 2018; since then, a who of supermarket and restaurant businesses has joined it. Notable plaintiffs include Kroger, Hy-Vee, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jimmy John’s, and Sonic Drive-In.

Ettinger, raised in Los Angeles, made a lot of money during his tenure at Hormel; according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, his total remuneration for 2016 was $36 million. The Democrat’s financial form also reveals tens of millions of dollars in assets, and Ettinger contributed half the approximately $800,000 he raised in campaign funds.

Due to Ettinger’s riches, one of his key rivals, small business owner Rick DeVoe, said that Ettinger was out of touch with Minnesota’s First Congressional District residents who, according to DeVoe, are tired of “corporate misbehavior.” Ettinger noted that he comprehends why Minnesotans “feel squeezed” in his July advertisement.

Ettinger, who won the special election’s primary on May 24 using his financial advantage, will take on Republican Brad Finstad on August 9. Finstad, a former state lawmaker, working in the Department of Agriculture under President Donald Trump, has raised $614,000 compared to Ettinger’s $805,000.