A bipartisan group of 12 U.S. Senators led by Tom Harkin (D-IA) wants the Senate Agriculture Committee to hold hearings on USDA's failure to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act. The move is a result of an Office of Inspector General's audit that found USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) management “prevented employees from conducting investigations into complaints of anti-competitive market behavior and covered up the lack of enforcement by inflating the reported number of investigations conducted.”
The audit found GIPSA had filed no anticompetitive complaints since 1999, and records were incomplete in more than half the investigations GIPSA claimed to be active. GIPSA didn't refer competition complaints to the USDA General Counsel for prosecution from November 2002 to February 2005. The audit report was requested by Harkin in April 2005.