The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that Dean Foods, a conglomerate food producer that owns many recognizable brands (including Mayfield Dairy), has received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal government contracts since 2000 (the earliest year records are available).
The Mayfield subsidiary has received several million over the same period, almost exclusively from the Department of Defense.
Does this present a problem for Scottie Mayfield’s bid to become the next U.S. Representative of Tennessee’s Third District? Whether or not you think it should, it probably won’t. U.S. Sen. Bob Corker had leasing contracts with the U.S. government prior to seeking federal office. (Corker sold most of his real estate holdings, the source of most of his federal contract income, before taking office.) Plenty of other elected officials own or preside over firms that do business with the American people.
However, the news report may give Mayfield’s opponents a rhetorical cow patty to fling, since the candidate’s published statements on federal spending seem to conflict with his ability to be an appropriation destination.
On the other hand: if the government awarded no contracts to dairy farmers, where would the cheese come from?