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Chapter 2: Campaign Contributions by Food and Pesticide Industry PACs

Pay to Spray: Chapter 2: Campaign Contributions by Food and Pesticide Industry PACs

June 2, 1996

PAC by PAC

PACs linked to the Food Chain Coalition gave a total of $13,381,413 to current members of Congress from November 1992 through April 1996. The top twenty-five Food Chain Coalition member PACs dominated the donations, giving $9,232,048 or 69 percent of the total given by all 145 PACs.

The top five campaign contributors from the Food Chain Coalition were RJR Nabisco Inc., Philip Morris Inc., American Crystal Sugar, PepsiCo, and the National Cattlemen's Association (Figure 1).

Top Recipients

House of Representatives. Total contributions to current members of the House from Food Chain Coalition PACs since November 1992 were over $9.3 million ($9,326,313). Contributions went disproportionately to industry supporters; the 241 co-sponsors of H.R. 1627 received 73 percent of all contributions made to House members by Food Chain Coalition PACs, or $6,849,080.

House co-sponsors of H.R. 1627 received $28,400 on average, compared with $12,700 received on average by members who are not co-sponsors of the bill (Figure 2). Five members of the House got over $100,000 in contributions (Table 1), and all of them save the Speaker, who typically does not sponsor legislation, co-sponsored H.R. 1627. The top recipient was Pat Roberts (D-KS) who received $161,980 in Food Chain Coalition PAC contributions, followed by Vic Fazio (D-CA), Charles Stenholm (D-TX), Newt Gingrich (R-GA), and Kika de la Garza (D-TX).

The top fifty House recipients of Food Chain Coalition PAC contributions received an average of $68,098, more than 37 percent of all the money given to current members of the House ($3,404,903). Forty-three of the top fifty House recipients of Food Chain Coalition PAC contributions are cosponsors of HR 1627 (Table 1).

In contrast, 40 Representatives took $1,000 or less from these PACs, and only 13 of these members co-sponsored H.R. 1627.

Commerce Committee. PAC contributions flow to committees with jurisdiction and power, and pro-pesticide PAC money is no exception. The forty-nine current members of the House Commerce Committee received over $1.5 million in Food Chain Coalition PAC contributions since the November 1992 elections. Cosponsors of H.R. 1627 on the Commerce Committee received substantially more money than the average co-sponsor in the House - $39,700 vs. $28,400 (Figure 3) and more than two and one half times the money - $15,500 - given to non-supporters of the bill on the Committee. Even members of the Commerce Committee who did not cosponsor H.R. 1627 received more money than the average non co-sponsor in the House - $15,500 vs. $12,800.

Ten members of the Commerce Committee received over $50,000 each since November 1992 (Figure 4). Thomas Bliley (R-VA), chairman of the committee and the original sponsor of H.R. 1627, was the largest recipient of Food Chain Coalition PAC contributions on the Commerce Committee at $97,581. Wilbert "Billy" Tauzin (R-LA) was the second-largest Commerce Committee recipient at $78,886, followed by John Dingell (D-MI), chairman of the committee through December 1994 but not a co-sponsor of H.R. 1627, with a total of $68,150. Twenty-eight of the 31 co-sponsors of H.R. 1627 on the Commerce Committee received more than the House average Food Chain Coalition PAC contribution of $21,490.

Senate. The members of the 104th Senate got more than $4 million in campaign contributions from Food Chain Coalition PACs since November 1992.

Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) was the largest recipient of Food Chain Coalition PAC contributions in the 104th Senate at $191,230. Following Hutchinson were Mike Dewine (R-OH) at $156,255 and Rick Santorum (R-PA) at $151,734 and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) at $139,500. Eight Senators received over $100,000 since November 1992, nineteen received over $75,000. The average Senate incumbent (minus presidential candidate Robert Dole) received $39,758.

Thirty-one members of the 104th Senate are cosponsors of the Food Quality Protection Act, S. 1166. The average S. 1166 cosponsor received $52,451 in Food Chain Coalition contributions. The remaining 68 non-cosponsors of H.R. 1166, in the 104th Senate got an average of $33,973. Nineteen cosponsors of S. 1166 got above the average Senate-wide contributions total of $39,758 (Figure 5).

Agriculture Committee. Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee received an above average portion of campaign contributions from the Food Chain Coalition PACs. The average amount of Food Chain Coalition PAC money received by a member of the Agriculture Committee was $42,359. The average amount received by the 12 co-sponsors of S. 1166 on the Senate Agriculture Committee was $52,929. In contrast, non-cosponsors on the Committee received an average of $30,731.