USDA boss Walters has checkered past

Once again a Republican political hack Sen. Thad Cochran had put into the patronage plum job of state USDA Rural Development Director – long known as the Farmers Home Administration or FMHA – seems to have gone sour.

Recently Nick Walters, who held the USDA rural development job for five and a half years prior to August, 2006, was indicted on three counts by a federal grand jury for having a financial interest in a Natchez hospital loan he sought while he headed the well-heeled government agency.

Walters, 41, was an unsuccessful 1999 Republican candidate for Mississippi’s Secretary of State who worked for Kirk Fordice and other Republican campaigns. Several times while in the rural development job Walters was under USDA questioning for lavish travel expenditures – and taking paternity leave (what?) – but skated past any criminal charges.

Now the recent indictments charge that Walters, presently an investment banker, had before he left the federal post sought a rural development loan for Natchez Regional Medical Center although he was already was in the employ of Kidwell and Company, an investment firm, which represented the hospital.

He’s further charged with having lied to an official of the Department of Agriculture on August 29, 2006 when he was leaving the USDA job to join the Lincoln Group (investments) by declaring he had no client relationship with the Natchez hospital facility.

Bill Minor
Desoto Times