October 18, 2012
Last week I wrote about the American Task Force Argentina (ATFA), which has spent more than $3 million lobbying against Argentina. One of the primary players behind ATFA, NML Capital, detained an Argentina naval ship in Ghana earlier this month in an effort to force “full” repayment on defaulted Argentina bonds, which were purchased for just a fraction of their face value.
The lobbying group also lists many farmers associations and education groups amongst its members. These groups have often been cited by ATFA when it has argued that the issue of Argentina being forced, to pay back “full” value is important to mainstream America, and not just hedge fund managers. Never mind the fact that Argentina has reached agreement with 95 percent of bondholders. But a report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that ATFA is really closer to a “vulture funds…lobby facade,” as Argentina ambassador Jorge Arguello has referred to it. The Journal reports:
Mr. Matlack is president of American Agriculture Movement, a farmers’ advocacy group that was listed among about 40 members of American Task Force Argentina, whose stated mission is to help investors recoup money from Argentina’s 2001 bond default and subsequent restructuring.
But Mr. Matlack and some leaders of other groups representing ranchers, teachers and farmers, are baffled about why the task force listed their organizations as members “united for a just and fair reconciliation” of Argentina’s default.
Reached while he was planting wheat on his farm, Mr. Matlack said he had never heard of American Task Force Argentina. “We don’t have anything to do with Argentina’s debt,” he said.
Also perplexed are leaders of the Colorado conference of the American Association of University Professors, which was listed under members and supporters. “This is absolutely foreign to me,” says Ray Hogler, legislative director of the academic group.
Both groups were dropped from the list after the Wall Street Journal alerted the task force to the discrepancies.
This abuse of the names of professional associations to further the interests of vulture funds should give additional pause to those in the House and Senate who have argued in favor of bending the foreign policy of the United States in favor of those funds’ interests.