Food and Farm Contributions to Key Senate Committee Top $2.5 Million

Over the last three election cycles, Big Food and Ag businesses and organizations have donated more than $2.5 million to members of the Senate Agriculture Committee and over $8.5 million to Senate candidates overall, a new analysis by EWG shows.

This surge in giving came on top of record lobbying expenditures to support legislation that would block mandatory GMO labeling. The bill passed the Committee last week and is set to be considered by the full Senate today.

The recipients of the greatest support were Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).

Sen. Roberts collected $289,000 from farm-related industries during the last three election cycles and  $151,000 from food businesses over the same period ($440,000 total). Sen. McConnell received $241,500 and $219,700 during the same period ($461,200 total). Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, received $264,900 and $126,200 ($391,100 total). 

Sen. Roberts is the primary author of legislation, dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (or DARK) Act, that would block state GMO-labeling laws and instead create a national voluntary GMO-labeling system. Sen. McConnell also strongly supports the DARK Act. Sen. Stabenow does not, supporting consumers' right to know.

EWG routinely tracks industry lobbying and campaign contributions to members of the Agriculture Committee, given their key role in shaping U.S. policies that have a bearing on food and farms. 

The legislation is being pushed by a coalition of food and farm businesses and organizations – many of the same businesses and organizations that have provided political support for Sen. Roberts and Sen. Stabenow, ranking member of the Agriculture Committee.

To view giving to the Senate Agriculture Committee from agricultural service companies, click here.

To view giving to the Senate Agriculture Committee from food processing and sales companies, click here.

To learn more about the DARK Act, click here.

Updated: March 18th

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