A new government oversight report recently released by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) opened the lid on the federally-funded Market Access Program, revealing ways that more than $2 billion in taxpayer dollars are used each year to subsidize advertising & promotion costs of some of the most profitable American corporations & trade groups doing business overseas.
One of the largest single recipients of these federal dollars is the Wine Institute - a major trade association for the California wine industry, which already soaks in $17.9 billion in annual sales. The Wine Institute received nearly $7 million in taxpayer dollars from the Market Access Program in 2012, and raked in more than $60 million over the past decade.
Just what have American tax dollars funded for the Wine Institute? A myriad of travel expenses for wine industry representatives including wine festivals and tastings in London, Denmark, and Dublin, and “educational" wine tastings in Mexico. The report calls for an end to "bounty of waste, loot, and spoils plundered from taxpayers."