On several occasions GMO Journal has observed that public debate on the impact of GMOs in America is seriously lacking. While the government and media silently stand by and let the agri-giants add to their coffers, the agri-giants are busy spending their millions on misleading public advertising campaigns and influencing our law makers through aggressive lobbying efforts.
Should we follow the money? According to the Center for Responsive Politics, this year alone Monsanto has spent $8.7 million dollars on lobbying efforts. Last year, the Center clocked Monsanto’s lobbying efforts at $8.8 million dollars. Similarly, during 2008 election cycle, Monsanto gave $186,250 directly to federal candidates. It is clear that if Monsanto is generous about anything, it’s generously contributing to both political parties.
While Monsanto’s lobbying monies can hardly be compared to large spenders in other industries (think big oil or health insurance), within the broader Agribusiness sector Monsanto is outspent only by Altria Group (formerly Phillip Morris) – and not by a whole lot.
When it comes to biotech lobbying dollars, Monsanto leads the agri-pack. The chart below shows the total 2009 lobbying expenses of the other GMO players. As you can see, none are more active than Monsanto.
For Monsanto the money is a good investment because every dollar spent discourages GMO regulations and sweetens the company’s marriage to politics. GMO Journal would not be the first to notice that government has become the cliched revolving door for Monsanto (and other industry insiders) who make smooth transitions between agency posts and back.
And that is where the money trail goes.