By: Tracy Loew
The campaign against Measure 92, which would have required labels on genetically modified food, was the most expensive in Oregon history, with 99.9 percent of campaign contributions coming from out of state.
As of Thursday, the No on 92 Coalition had reported raising $20.9 million, more than twice as much as supporters' $9.9 million.
While they were pouring money into the opposition campaign, out-of-state agribusiness companies and food industry trade groups also were contributing to legislators' campaign committees and Oregon political action committees.
Since June, when both sides began gearing up for battle, GMO labeling opponents including Monsanto, Coca-Cola, and DuPont, as well as the Grocery Manufacturers Association made additional contributions totaling $80,000.
They went to 10 lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as seven political action committees.
Grocery Manufacturers Association contributed $2,000 each to the campaign committees of Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, and House Democratic Leader Val Hoyle, D-Eugene.
Coca-Cola made contributions to nine legislators' campaign funds, including $2,500 to House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland.
Monsanto, which controls the majority of the U.S. seed market, contributed a total of $26,000 to four PACs, including $7,000 to The Leadership Fund, which supports Senate Republicans.
Michael Gay, communications director for the Senate Republican Caucus, declined to comment.
Kara Walker, communications director for House Republicans, said the contributions aren't out of the ordinary.
"It's pretty clear that both opponents and proponents of GMO labeling spent heavily in Oregon this year, and contributions were made to candidates on both sides of the aisle," Walker said. "However, candidates this cycle received contributions from a variety of industries and associations from health care to agriculture to business."
It's unclear whether the issue will surface again in the 2015 legislative session, which begins Feb. 2.
House Bill 4100, which would have required GMO labeling, died in committee during the 2014 session.
Representatives of House and Senate leadership offices said they have not heard of a similar proposal circulating so far.
Measure 92 failed last month by just 812 votes, going to an automatic recount which added 25 votes to the "no" side.
The Oregon Secretary of State's Office certified the recount this week, officially ending the campaign.
Originally Published: Statesman Journal