In just two days, Iowa begins the process of selecting the next President of the United States. And it’s clear, we need a candidate that protects family farms, our environment and consumer health from the ravages of industrial agriculture and America’s broken food system. Now more than ever, America needs a leader that has stood up to corrupt chemical companies and giant factory animal farms where more than 99% of our meat comes from. One thing is certain, our food supply and our planet are at a crisis point and we must stop another Roundup Ready Administration that favors Monsanto and toxic chemical agriculture.
For those of us in the food movement, we’ve had a front row seat for twenty plus years as giant agribusiness continues to invent new ways to rig the rules against America’s family farmers, consumers and our basic democratic rights.
Last time, the differences between the candidates couldn’t have been clearer. While then-Senator Barack Obama was not afraid to promise Iowa farmers that he would label GMOs if elected (yes, we’re still working it and getting closer than ever), his main opponent, then-Senator Hillary Clinton was busy hosting fundraisers at Monsanto’s law firm in Washington DC.
That’s right - in 2007, Clinton’s campaign was so out of touch that they called her fundraiser at Monsanto’s law firm “Rural Americans for Hillary”. The Clinton campaign even had the audacity to put a “Welcome Hillary” on the back of a giant soybean sprayer! You know the type that sprays Roundup, which has been linked to cancer, on Monsanto’s patented GMO seeds.
While some might think the Clinton campaign was just trying to be cute, in Iowa, chemical agriculture is no laughing matter. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Iowa has the highest rates of cancer of any state in the Midwest and it should come has no surprise that 97% of soybeans and 93% of corn grown in Iowa are genetically engineered to be sprayed with Monsanto's Roundup, which the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently linked to causing cancer in humans just last year.
Link to Hillary's 2007 "Rural Americans for Hillary" Fundraiser at Monsanto's Law Firm in DC.
The story broke on October 18, 2007, when Jake Tapper wrote about Hillary’s fundraiser at Monsanto’s law firm, Troutman Sanders Public Affairs for ABC News titled “Yee-Haw”, where unfortunately, it looked like Hillary took a page out of her husband’s corporate fundraising handbook.
For those who don’t remember, Bill Clinton was the McDonald’s-chomping Bubba who rose to power from Arkansas on the back of local chicken farmers as his political patrons at Tyson Foods got rich and forced tens of thousands of chicken farmers out of business. Even worse was the Clinton administration’s record on GMOs, which were first approved under his administration, including rBGH and Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMO corn and soy, which Clinton officials promoted heavily in the U.S. and abroad.
The real question voters have to ask themselves is, will Hillary Clinton’s campaign be another extension of Bill Clinton’s administration, which rigged the rules in favor of Monsanto and the biotech industry and forbid GMO labeling in the U.S. or will Hillary stand with 93% of the American public that favors labeling of genetically engineered foods?
Now that she’s on the campaign trail once again, it’s time that she answers to the American public on what exactly is her position on mandatory GMO labeling for America? Will Hillary side with Monsanto or will she finally stand up for the American public?
Unfortunately, rather than learn her lesson here, after her embarrassing 2008 defeat, Hillary has doubled down on her Monsanto strategy to retake the White House. This time around she’s not just content to hold fundraisers at Monsanto’s law firm in Washington DC, she’s having Monsanto lobbyists raise money for her campaign.
Last year, a Monsanto lobbyist and close friend of the Clinton family, Jerry Crawford, an Iowa lawyer and top Democratic party fundraiser, was handpicked to help “advise” the Ready for Hillary super PAC that will be raising dark money to put Hillary in the White House.
Not surprisingly, Crawford is also a close friend and top adviser to Tom Vilsack, current Secretary of Agriculture and former two-term Iowa governor who is known as “Monsanto’s Man in Iowa” and also served as co-chair of Clinton’s 2008 failed presidential campaign.
In 2010, when the Obama administration launched a joint Department of Justice and USDA investigation into antitrust and monopoly concerns in food and agriculture, Jerry Crawford was hired by Monsanto to help derail any possible legal action that could result in fines or legal action against his biotech seed and chemical giant paymaster.
Unfortunately he was successful, and the Obama administration did nothing more than hold 5 show trials across the country and simply dropped the issue, which had been a 20 year struggle for family farmers and rural activists to even get on the political agenda.
Since that painful loss, Monsanto has kept Crawford on retainer, paying his law firm more than $1.6 million over the past 6 years. Now Crawford and other corporate lobbyists are busy raising millions of dollars to put Hillary back in the White House. This is an outrage! What exactly are Monsanto lobbyists like Crawford expecting from Hillary in return for their fundraising services? Let’s be honest, these folks are raising money because they believe in your democratic rights, lobbyists like Crawford are working night and day to grease the skids to once again open the revolving door for corporate bad actors like Monsanto.
Right now, Hillary Clinton has a choice, she can continue to cozy up to Monsanto lobbyists or she can stand up for the American people, who are sick and tired of this type of corporate corruption of our democracy.
Together we’re unstoppable!
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Founder / Executive Director
Food Democracy Now!
P.S. This is the first, in a three part series in which we will be examining close financial ties to agribusiness and its corrosive impact on family farmers and our food supply. Please forward this story to 3 friends who care about these issues. We can’t afford to have another candidate in the White House that intentionally puts Monsanto’s profits over the rights of the American public.
If you want to read more about Obama promise to Iowa farmers, read the article I just published on EcoWatch:
"Exclusive New Video Unveils Obama’s Promises to Fight Agribusiness and Label GMOs - How Obama Won the Iowa Caucus - Lessons from 2008 that Candidates in 2016 would be wise to learn from." http://bit.ly/1npDjFe
1. "Yee-Haw", Jake Tapper, ABC New, October 18, 2007.
2. “Sure, But It's The Rural Part of K Street”, Ezra Klein, The American Prospect, October 18, 2007
3. Death of the Machine, Paul Krugman, The New York Times, October 19, 2007
4. Cancer Prevention and Control, Cancer Rates by U.S. State, Incidence Rates by State, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
5. “WHO Publishes Full Probable Human Carcinogen Report on Glyphosate”, Sustainable Pulse, July 30, 2015.
6. “Hillary's Pick for Her Political Fixer in Iowa Is a Classic Illustration of America's Political Corporate Insider Problem: Monsanto-linked Jerry Crawford doesn't inspire much hope.”, Alternet, March 9, 2015
7. “Jerry Crawford has two goals: Delivering Iowa for Hillary Clinton and winning the Kentucky Derby”, Ben Terris, Washington Post, March 2, 2015 https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/hillary-clintons-iowa-horse-whisperer-jerry-crawford-aims-for-caucus-kentucky-derby/2015/03/02/9c93b638-be23-11e4-bdfa-b8e8f594e6ee_story.html