Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Wednesday accused the Obama administration of not fully informing the American people about a $6.2 billion deal to acquire Agri-Pulse, the world’s largest agriba-industry operator.
The deal, which was approved by the Senate in December, includes $2.8 billion in cash and a 20 percent stake in AgriPulse.
But Grassley said the deal was so complex that the Department of Agriculture has yet to complete the analysis required under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The legislation, Grassley said, was created to deal with large-scale, opaque transactions that threaten to undermine our democracy and the rule of law.
“It is time to close this revolving door, to shut down this revolving-door system, and to require greater transparency from our foreign policy establishment,” Grassley said.
He called the Department “deeply flawed” for not fully complying with the law.
Grassley, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said the committee would soon be conducting a full review of the Agri–Pulse acquisition.
“I hope the Department will do the right thing and disclose the full accounting of this transaction,” Grassley told reporters.
“And we will be looking at every aspect of the transaction.”
The AgriPlasma acquisition was approved in December by the U.S. Senate, but the deal has been plagued by controversy and regulatory hurdles.
In January, a U.N. panel ruled that AgriPower, the company that purchased Agri‐Pulse from the Agribusys, violated the U,S.
embargo on Cuba, which prohibits the export of U.s. goods and services.
AgriPeace, a subsidiary of AgriSense that owns AgriPharma, also faces sanctions under the embargo.
AgiPulse announced last month that it would shut down by March 31, 2020, the day after Grassley’s office informed the Senate about the acquisition.
Grassley’s spokesman, Matthew Miller, said in an email that Grassley was not involved in the AgiPharma acquisition.
Agreeing with Grassley’s suggestion, Miller said Grassley’s staff had been told about the Agreeee acquisition “many months ago.”
In the Senate, Grassley has been working to make sure that foreign companies have the ability to conduct business in the United States.
He recently introduced legislation to block a proposed $1.5 billion sale of a U-Haul cargo truck to China.